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Exp Cell Res. 2001 May 1;265(2):212-20.

Purification of mouse primary myoblasts based on alpha 7 integrin expression.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5175, USA.


Fundamental insights have come from the study of myogenesis. Primary myoblasts isolated directly from muscle tissue more closely approximate myogenesis than established cell lines. However, contamination of primary muscle cultures with nonmyogenic cells can complicate the results. To overcome this problem, we previously described a method for myoblast purification based on novel culture conditions (T. A. Rando and H. M. Blau, 1994, J. Cell Biol. 125, 1275--1287). Here we report a refinement of this method that leads directly to an enriched population of mouse primary myoblasts, within significantly fewer population doublings. The method described here avoids using adhesion as a criterion for selection. This advance capitalizes on the ability of the antibody CA5.5 to recognize alpha 7 integrin, a muscle-specific cell surface antigen. Enrichment of myoblasts to greater than 95% of the cell population can be achieved by a single round of flow cytometry or magnetic bead separation. This is the first description of a mouse myoblast purification method based on a cell-type-specific antigen. The ease of this procedure for isolating primary myoblasts should expand the opportunities for (1) using these cells in cell transplantation studies in animal models of human disease, (2) isolating and characterizing mutant myoblasts from transgenic animals, and (3) allowing in vitro studies of molecules that regulate muscle cell growth, differentiation, and neoplasia.

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