Stem Cell


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0 Q&A 355 Views Sep 5, 2023

Adult stem cells play key roles in homeostasis and tissue repair. These cells are regulated by a tight control of transcriptional programs. For example, muscle stem cells (MuSCs), located beneath the basal lamina, exist in the quiescent state but can transition to an activated, proliferative state upon injury. The control of MuSC state depends on the expression levels of myogenic transcription factors. Recent studies revealed the presence of different mRNA isoforms, with distinct biological regulation. Quantifying the exact expression levels of the mRNA isoforms encoding these myogenic transcription factors is therefore key to understanding how MuSCs switch between cell states. Previously, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) has been used to quantify RNA expression levels. However, qRT-PCR depends on large amounts of RNA input and only measures relative abundance. Here, we present a protocol for the absolute quantification of mRNA isoforms using microfluidic digital PCR (mdPCR). Primary MuSCs isolated from individual skeletal muscles (gastrocnemius and masseter) are lysed, and their RNA is reverse-transcribed into cDNA and copied into double-stranded DNA. Following exonuclease I digestion to remove remaining single-stranded DNA, the samples are loaded onto a mdPCR chip with TaqMan probes targeting the mRNA isoforms of interest, whereupon target molecules are amplified in nanoliter chambers. We demonstrate that mdPCR can give exact molecule counts per cell for mRNA isoforms encoding the myogenic transcription factor Pax3. This protocol enables the absolute quantification of low abundant mRNA isoforms in a fast, precise, and reliable way.


Graphical overview



Schematic overview of the workflow. (A) Isolation of individual muscles (gastrocnemius and masseter) from C57/BL6 mice followed by digestion using collagenase II and dispase. (B) Sorting of 500 cells directly into PCR tubes using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). (C) Reverse transcription of mRNA to cDNA. (D) Polymerase reaction to generate a duplicated cDNA product. (E) Exonuclease I digestion to remove remaining single-stranded DNA and the non-hybridized primers. (F) Denaturation step to inactivate exonuclease I. (G) Loading the samples into the microfluidic chip. (H) Running the TaqMan Digital PCR assay in the Fluidigm Biomark HD real-time PCR machine. (I) Data analysis using the Digital PCR software.

0 Q&A 1899 Views Jan 5, 2022

Muscle stem cells (satellite cells), located on the surface of myofibers, are rapidly activated from a quiescent state following skeletal muscle injury. Although satellite cell activation is an initial step in muscle regeneration, the stimulation of satellite cell activation by muscle injury remains to be elucidated. We recently established an in vitro mechanical damage model of myofibers, to analyze quiescent and activated satellite cells associated with myofibers isolated from the extensor digitorum longus muscle in mice. Here, we described a protocol for the mechanical damage of myofibers and co-culture of intact healthy myofibers with damaged myofibers in a floating condition. This in vitro myofiber damage model allowed us to investigate the mechanism of satellite cell activation without contamination by interstitial cells, such as blood vessel cells and fibroblasts, as well as understand how damaged myofiber-derived factors (DMDFs) activate satellite cells.


0 Q&A 2469 Views Dec 5, 2021

Satellite cells (SCs) are muscle stem cells capable of regenerating injured muscle. The study of their functional potential depends on the availability of methods for the isolation and expansion of pure SCs, which retain myogenic properties after serial passages in vitro. Here, we describe a protocol for the isolation and in vitro expansion of highly pure mouse and human SCs based on ice-cold treatment (ICT). The ICT is carried out by briefly incubating the dish containing a heterogeneous mix of adherent muscle mononuclear cells on ice for 15-30 min, which leads to the detachment only of the SCs, and gives rise to SC cultures with 95-100% purity. This approach can also be used to passage the cells, allowing SC expansion over extended periods of time without compromising their proliferation or differentiation potential. Overall, the ICT method is cost-effective, accessible, technically simple, reproducible, and highly efficient.


Graphic abstract:



Figure 1. Satellite cell isolation using the ice-cold treatment method.


0 Q&A 2480 Views Nov 5, 2021

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a specialized synapse that connects the terminal end of a motor neuron and a skeletal muscle fiber. Defects in NMJ cause abnormalities of neuromuscular transmission, leading to NMJ disorders. The mammalian diaphragm muscle is essential for respiration and has been widely used to study NMJ formation. Here, we provide a simple and straightforward protocol for preparing diaphragms from embryonic, neonatal, and adult mice and for subsequent NMJ staining.

0 Q&A 4461 Views Sep 5, 2021

Skeletal muscles generate force throughout life and require maintenance and repair to ensure efficiency. The population of resident muscle stem cells (MuSCs), termed satellite cells, dwells beneath the basal lamina of adult myofibres and contributes to both muscle growth and regeneration. Upon exposure to activating signals, MuSCs proliferate to generate myoblasts that differentiate and fuse to grow or regenerate myofibres. This myogenic progression resembles aspects of muscle formation and development during embryogenesis. Therefore, the study of MuSCs and their associated myofibres permits the exploration of muscle stem cell biology, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscle formation, maintenance and repair. As most aspects of MuSC biology have been described in rodents, their relevance to other species, including humans, is unclear and would benefit from comparison to an alternative vertebrate system. Here, we describe a procedure for the isolation and immunolabelling or culture of adult zebrafish myofibres that allows examination of both myofibre characteristics and MuSC biology ex vivo. Isolated myofibres can be analysed for morphometric characteristics such as the myofibre volume and myonuclear domain to assess the dynamics of muscle growth. Immunolabelling for canonical stemness markers or reporter transgenes identifies MuSCs on isolated myofibres for cellular/molecular studies. Furthermore, viable myofibres can be plated, allowing MuSC myogenesis and analysis of proliferative and differentiative dynamics in primary progenitor cells. In conclusion, we provide a comparative system to amniote models for the study of vertebrate myogenesis, which will reveal fundamental genetic and cellular mechanisms of MuSC biology and inform aquaculture.



Graphic abstract:



Schematic of Myofibre Isolation and Culture of Muscle Stem Cells from Adult Zebrafish.


0 Q&A 2747 Views Jun 5, 2021

Cryoinjury, or injury due to freezing, is a method of creating reproducible, local injuries in skeletal muscle. This method allows studying the regenerative response following muscle injuries in vivo, thus enabling the evaluation of local and systemic factors that influence the processes of myofiber regeneration. Cryoinjuries are applicable to the study of various modalities of muscle injury, particularly non-traumatic and traumatic injuries, without a loss of substantial volume of muscle mass. Cryoinjury requires only simple instruments and has the advantage over other methods that the extent of the lesion can be easily adjusted and standardized according to the duration of contact with the freezing instrument. The regenerative response can be evaluated histologically by the average maturity of regenerating myofibers as indicated by the cross-sectional areas of myofibers with centrally located nuclei. Accordingly, cryoinjury is regarded as one of the most reliable and easily accessible methods for simulating muscle injuries in studies of muscle regeneration.

1 Q&A 7489 Views Jul 20, 2019
Myofiber isolation followed with ex vivo culture could recapitulate and visualize satellite cells (SCs) activation, proliferation, and differentiation. This approach could be taken to understand the physiology of satellite cells and the molecular mechanism of regulatory factors, in terms of the involvement of intrinsic factors over SCs quiescence, activation, proliferation and differentiation. Single myofiber culture has several advantages that the traditional approach such as FASC and cryosection could not compete with. For example, myofiber isolation and culture could be used to observe SCs activation, proliferation and differentiation at a continuous manner within their physiological “niche” environment while FACS or cryosection could only capture single time-point upon external stimulation to activate satellite cells by BaCl2, Cardiotoxin or ischemia. Furthermore, in vitro transfection with siRNA or overexpression vector could be performed under ex vivo culture to understand the detailed molecular function of a specific gene on SCs physiology. With these advantages, the physiological state of SCs could be analyzed at multiple designated time-points by immunofluorescence staining. In this protocol, we provide an efficient and practical protocol to isolate single myofiber from EDL muscle, followed with ex vivo culture and immunostaining.
0 Q&A 9516 Views Sep 5, 2018
This protocol details a method to analyze two tissue samples at the transcriptomic level using microarray analysis, ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). Methods such as these provide insight into the mechanisms underlying biological differences across two samples and thus can be applied to interrogate a variety of processes across different tissue samples, conditions, and the like. The full method detailed below can be applied to determine the effects of muscle-specific Notch1 activation in the mdx mouse model and to analyze previously published microarray data of human liposarcoma cell lines.
0 Q&A 8498 Views May 20, 2018
Inducing an injury specifically to Drosophila flight muscles is a difficult task, owing to the small size of the muscles and the presence of the cuticle. The protocol described below provides an easy and reproducible method to induce injury in the Drosophila flight muscles.
0 Q&A 9422 Views Jan 20, 2018
Satellite cell (SC) transplantation represents a powerful strategy to investigate SC biology during muscle regeneration. We described here a protocol for SC isolation from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing mice and their transplantation into murine muscles. This procedure was originally used to assess the effects of the hormone unacylated ghrelin on muscle regeneration, in particular evaluating how the increase of unacylated ghrelin in the recipient muscle affected the engraftment of donor SCs (Reano et al., 2017).



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