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Cell Death Dis. 2013 Jun 27;4:e692. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.221.

Signal-dependent fra-2 regulation in skeletal muscle reserve and satellite cells.

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Department of Biology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Activator protein-1 (AP-1) is a ubiquitous transcription factor that paradoxically also has some tissue-specific functions. In skeletal muscle cells, we document that the AP-1 subunit, Fra-2, is expressed in the resident stem cells (Pax7-positive satellite cells) and also in the analogous undifferentiated 'reserve' cell population in myogenic cultures, but not in differentiated myofiber nuclei. Silencing of Fra-2 expression enhances the expression of differentiation markers such as muscle creatine kinase and myosin heavy chain, indicating a possible role of Fra-2 in undifferentiated myogenic progenitor cells. We observed that Fra-2 is a target of cytokine-mediated extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 signaling in cultured muscle cells, and extensive mass spectrometry and mutational analysis identified S320 and T322 as regulators of Fra-2 protein stability. Interestingly, Fra-2 S320 phosphorylation occurs transiently in activated satellite cells and is extinguished in myogenin-positive differentiating cells. Thus, cytokine-mediated Fra-2 expression and stabilization is linked to regulation of myogenic progenitor cells having implications for the molecular regulation of adult muscle stem cells and skeletal muscle regeneration.

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