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Development. 2011 Dec;138(24):5279-89. doi: 10.1242/dev.068411. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Eph/ephrin interactions modulate muscle satellite cell motility and patterning.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


During development and regeneration, directed migration of cells, including neural crest cells, endothelial cells, axonal growth cones and many types of adult stem cells, to specific areas distant from their origin is necessary for their function. We have recently shown that adult skeletal muscle stem cells (satellite cells), once activated by isolation or injury, are a highly motile population with the potential to respond to multiple guidance cues, based on their expression of classical guidance receptors. We show here that, in vivo, differentiated and regenerating myofibers dynamically express a subset of ephrin guidance ligands, as well as Eph receptors. This expression has previously only been examined in the context of muscle-nerve interactions; however, we propose that it might also play a role in satellite cell-mediated muscle repair. Therefore, we investigated whether Eph-ephrin signaling would produce changes in satellite cell directional motility. Using a classical ephrin 'stripe' assay, we found that satellite cells respond to a subset of ephrins with repulsive behavior in vitro; patterning of differentiating myotubes is also parallel to ephrin stripes. This behavior can be replicated in a heterologous in vivo system, the hindbrain of the developing quail, in which neural crest cells are directed in streams to the branchial arches and to the forelimb of the developing quail, where presumptive limb myoblasts emigrate from the somite. We hypothesize that guidance signaling might impact multiple steps in muscle regeneration, including escape from the niche, directed migration to sites of injury, cell-cell interactions among satellite cell progeny, and differentiation and patterning of regenerated muscle.

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