Mechanism regulating growth, differentiation of adult muscle stem cells identified

December 8th, 2007 - 8:53 pm ICT by admin  

Washington , Dec 8 (ANI): A recent study has revealed the mechanism which regulates the growth and differentiation of muscle stem cells that aid in repairing injured muscles.

The study was carried by a group of scientists led by Pier Lorenzo Puri, MD, Ph.D. at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla , CA .

Muscle regeneration is a natural response to injury and disease. During this process, environmental signals lead to adult muscle stem cells (satellite cells) to shift from dormancy to actively building new muscle tissue.

However, the signaling pathways controlling muscle regeneration are fairly well known, but the mechanism through which signals lead to altered chromatin structure remains a mystery.

The researchers analyzed the governing mechanism of certain cellular signaling cues, which cause epigenetic modifications at the time of release within the regenerative microenvironment, hence controlling the expression of genes regulating growth and differentiation of muscle stem cells that repair injured muscle.

The team of scientists demonstrated the mechanism though which two signaling pathways, PI3K/AKT and p38, work together to amass components of the protein complexes responsible for muscle-specific transcription, and how each pathway is responsible for a distinct step in the transcription process.

Moreover, the team was able to separate these two steps pharmacologically, showing that selective interference with either cascade cause incomplete assembly of protein complexes, and in the process prevent muscle-specific gene expression.

The findings indicate possible pharmacological avenues for selective control of gene expression in adult muscle stem cells that may have therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine.

The study was published in Molecular Cell. (ANI)

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