ABSTRACT: Control of stem cell fate to either enter terminal differentiation versus returning to quiescence (self-renewal) is crucial for tissue repair. Here, we showed that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the master metabolic regulator of the cell, controls muscle stem cell (MuSC) self-renewal. AMPK?1-/- MuSCs displayed a high self-renewal rate, which impairs muscle regeneration. AMPK?1-/- MuSCs showed a Warburg-like switch of their metabolism to higher glycolysis. We identified lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as a new functional target of AMPK?1. LDH, which is a non-limiting enzyme of glycolysis in differentiated cells, was tightly regulated in stem cells. In functional experiments, LDH overexpression phenocopied AMPK?1-/- phenotype, that is shifted MuSC metabolism toward glycolysis triggering their return to quiescence, while inhibition of LDH activity rescued AMPK?1-/- MuSC self-renewal. Finally, providing specific nutrients (galactose/glucose) to MuSCs directly controlled their fate through the AMPK?1/LDH pathway, emphasizing the importance of metabolism in stem cell fate.
Project description:Muscle undergoes progressive weakening and regenerative dysfunction with age due in part to the functional decline of skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs). MuSCs are heterogeneous but whether their gene expression changes with age and the implication of such changes are unclear. Here we show that in mice, Growth arrest-specific gene 1 (Gas1) is expressed in a small subset of young MuSCs with its expression progressively increasing in larger fractions of MuSCs later in life. Over-expression of Gas1 in young MuSCs and inactivation of Gas1 in aged MuSCs support that Gas1 reduces the quiescence and self-renewal capacity of MuSCs. Gas1 reduces Ret signaling, which is required for MuSC quiescence and self-renewal. Indeed, we show that the Ret ligand, Glial Cell-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), can counteract Gas1 by stimulating Ret signaling and enhancing MuSC self-renewal and regeneration, thus improving muscle function. We propose that strategies aimed to target this pathway can be exploited to improve the regenerative decline of muscle stem cells.
Project description:Skeletal muscle is a complex tissue containing tissue resident muscle stem cells (satellite cells) (MuSCs) important for postnatal muscle growth and regeneration. Quantitative analysis of the biological function of MuSCs and the molecular pathways responsible for a potential juxtavascular niche for MuSCs is currently lacking. We utilized fluorescent reporter mice and muscle tissue clearing to investigate the proximity of MuSCs to capillaries in 3 dimensions. We show that MuSCs express abundant VEGFA, which recruits endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro, whereas blocking VEGFA using both a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor and MuSC-specific VEGFA gene deletion reduces the proximity of MuSCs to capillaries. Importantly, this proximity to the blood vessels was associated with MuSC self-renewal in which the EC-derived Notch ligand Dll4 induces quiescence in MuSCs. We hypothesize that MuSCs recruit capillary ECs via VEGFA, and in return, ECs maintain MuSC quiescence though Dll4.
Project description:A promising therapeutic strategy for diverse genetic disorders involves transplantation of autologous stem cells that have been genetically corrected ex vivo. A major challenge in such approaches is a loss of stem cell potency during culture. Here we describe an artificial niche for maintaining muscle stem cells (MuSCs) in vitro in a potent, quiescent state. Using a machine learning method, we identified a molecular signature of quiescence and used it to screen for factors that could maintain mouse MuSC quiescence, thus defining a quiescence medium (QM). We also engineered muscle fibers that mimic the native myofiber of the MuSC niche. Mouse MuSCs maintained in QM on engineered fibers showed enhanced potential for engraftment, tissue regeneration and self-renewal after transplantation in mice. An artificial niche adapted to human cells similarly extended the quiescence of human MuSCs in vitro and enhanced their potency in vivo. Our approach for maintaining quiescence may be applicable to stem cells isolated from other tissues.
Project description:Tissue renewal and muscle regeneration largely rely on the proliferation and differentiation of muscle stem cells called muscular satellite cells (MuSCs). MuSCs are normally quiescent, but they are activated in response to various stimuli, such as inflammation. Activated MuSCs proliferate, migrate, differentiate, and fuse to form multinucleate myofibers. Meanwhile, inappropriate cues for MuSC activation induce premature differentiation and bring about stem cell loss. Recent studies revealed that stem cell regulation is disrupted in various aged tissues. We found that the expression of microRNA (miR)-155, which is an inflammation-associated miR, is upregulated in MuSCs of aged muscles, and this upregulation activates the differentiation process through suppression of C/ebp?, which is an important molecule for maintaining MuSC self-renewal. We also found that Notch1 considerably repressed miR-155 expression, and loss of Notch1 induced miR-155 overexpression. Our findings suggest that miR-155 can act as an activator of muscular differentiation and might be responsible for accelerating aging-associated premature differentiation of MuSCs.
Project description:Muscle-specific adult stem cells (MuSCs) are required for skeletal muscle regeneration. To ensure efficient skeletal muscle regeneration after injury, MuSCs must undergo state transitions as they are activated from quiescence, give rise to a population of proliferating myoblasts, and continue either to terminal differentiation, to repair or replace damaged myofibers, or self-renewal to repopulate the quiescent population. Changes in MuSC/myoblast state are accompanied by dramatic shifts in their transcriptional profile. Previous reports in other adult stem cell systems have identified alterations in the most abundant internal mRNA modification, N6-methyladenosine (m6A), conferred by its active writer, METTL3, to regulate cell state transitions through alterations in the transcriptional profile of these cells. Our objective was to determine if m6A-modification deposition via METTL3 is a regulator of MuSC/myoblast state transitions in vitro and in vivo. Using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry we identified that global m6A levels increase during the early stages of skeletal muscle regeneration, in vivo, and decline when C2C12 myoblasts transition from proliferation to differentiation, in vitro. Using m6A-specific RNA-sequencing (MeRIP-seq), a distinct profile of m6A-modification was identified, distinguishing proliferating from differentiating C2C12 myoblasts. RNAi studies show that reducing levels of METTL3, the active m6A methyltransferase, reduced global m6A levels and forced C2C12 myoblasts to prematurely differentiate. Reducing levels of METTL3 in primary mouse MuSCs prior to transplantation enhanced their engraftment capacity upon primary transplantation, however their capacity for serial transplantation was lost. In conclusion, METTL3 regulates m6A levels in MuSCs/myoblasts and controls the transition of MuSCs/myoblasts to different cell states. Furthermore, the first transcriptome wide map of m6A-modifications in proliferating and differentiating C2C12 myoblasts is provided and reveals a number of genes that may regulate MuSC/myoblast state transitions which had not been previously identified.
Project description:The impact of glucose metabolism on muscle regeneration remains unresolved. We identify glucose metabolism as a crucial driver of histone acetylation and myogenic cell fate. We use single-cell mass cytometry (CyTOF) and flow cytometry to characterize the histone acetylation and metabolic states of quiescent, activated, and differentiating muscle stem cells (MuSCs). We find glucose is dispensable for mitochondrial respiration in proliferating MuSCs, so that glucose becomes available for maintaining high histone acetylation via acetyl-CoA. Conversely, quiescent and differentiating MuSCs increase glucose utilization for respiration and have consequently reduced acetylation. Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity serves as a rheostat for histone acetylation and must be controlled for muscle regeneration. Increased PDH activity in proliferation increases histone acetylation and chromatin accessibility at genes that must be silenced for differentiation to proceed, and thus promotes self-renewal. These results highlight metabolism as a determinant of MuSC histone acetylation, fate, and function during muscle regeneration.
Project description:Skeletal muscle stem cell (MuSC) function declines with age and contributes to impaired muscle regeneration in older individuals. Acting through AMPK/p27Kip1, we have identified a pathway regulating the balance between autophagy, apoptosis, and senescence in aged MuSCs. While p27Kip1 is implicated in MuSC aging, its precise role and molecular mechanism have not been elucidated. Age-related MuSC dysfunction was associated with reduced autophagy, increased apoptosis, and hypophosphorylation of AMPK and its downstream target p27Kip1. AMPK activation or ectopic expression of a phosphomimetic p27Kip1 mutant was sufficient to suppress in vitro apoptosis, increase proliferation, and improve in vivo transplantation efficiency of aged MuSCs. Moreover, activation of the AMPK/p27Kip1 pathway reduced markers of cell senescence in aged cells, which was, in part, dependent on p27Kip1 phosphorylation. Thus, the AMPK/p27Kip1 pathway likely regulates the autophagy/apoptosis balance in aged MuSCs and may be a potential target for improving muscle regeneration in older individuals.
Project description:Dedicated stem cells ensure postnatal growth, repair and homeostasis of skeletal muscle. Following injury, muscle stem cells (MuSCs) exit from quiescence and divide to reconstitute the stem cell pool and give rise to muscle progenitors. The transcriptomes of pooled MuSCs have provided a rich source of information for describing the genetic programs of distinct static cell states; however, bulk microarray and RNA sequencing provide only averaged gene expression profiles, blurring the heterogeneity and developmental dynamics of asynchronous MuSC populations. Instead, the granularity required to identify distinct cell types, states, and their dynamics can be afforded by single cell analysis. We were able to compare the transcriptomes of thousands of MuSCs and primary myoblasts isolated from homeostatic or regenerating muscles by single cell RNA sequencing. Using computational approaches, we could reconstruct dynamic trajectories and place, in a pseudotemporal manner, the transcriptomes of individual MuSC within these trajectories. This approach allowed for the identification of distinct clusters of MuSCs and primary myoblasts with partially overlapping but distinct transcriptional signatures, as well as the description of metabolic pathways associated with defined MuSC states.
Project description:Aging impairs tissue repair. This is pronounced in skeletal muscle, whose regeneration by muscle stem cells (MuSCs) is robust in young adult animals but inefficient in older organisms. Despite this functional decline, old MuSCs are amenable to rejuvenation through strategies that improve the systemic milieu, such as heterochronic parabiosis. One such strategy, exercise, has long been appreciated for its benefits on healthspan, but its effects on aged stem cell function in the context of tissue regeneration are incompletely understood. Here we show that exercise in the form of voluntary wheel running accelerates muscle repair in old animals and improves old MuSC function. Through transcriptional profiling and genetic studies, we discovered that the restoration of old MuSC activation ability hinges on restoration of Cyclin D1, whose expression declines with age in MuSCs. Pharmacologic studies revealed that Cyclin D1 maintains MuSC activation capacity by repressing TGF? signaling. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that voluntary exercise is a practicable intervention for old MuSC rejuvenation. Furthermore, this work highlights the distinct role of Cyclin D1 in stem cell quiescence.
Project description:Adult skeletal muscles are maintained during homeostasis and regenerated upon injury by muscle stem cells (MuSCs). A heterogeneity in self-renewal, differentiation and regeneration properties has been reported for MuSCs based on their anatomical location. Although MuSCs derived from extraocular muscles (EOM) have a higher regenerative capacity than those derived from limb muscles, the molecular determinants that govern these differences remain undefined. Here we show that EOM and limb MuSCs have distinct DNA methylation signatures associated with enhancers of location-specific genes, and that the EOM transcriptome is reprogrammed following transplantation into a limb muscle environment. Notably, EOM MuSCs expressed host-site specific positional Hox codes after engraftment and self-renewal within the host muscle. However, about 10% of EOM-specific genes showed engraftment-resistant expression, pointing to cell-intrinsic molecular determinants of the higher engraftment potential of EOM MuSCs. Our results underscore the molecular diversity of distinct MuSC populations and molecularly define their plasticity in response to microenvironmental cues. These findings provide insights into strategies designed to improve the functional capacity of MuSCs in the context of regenerative medicine.