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Epigenetic regulation of satellite cell activation during muscle regeneration

F Jeffrey Dilworth12 and Alexandre Blais34

Author Affiliations

1 Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research, Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 501 Smyth Road, Mailbox 511, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8L6

2 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5

3 Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, 451 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5

4 Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5

Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2011, 2:18  doi:10.1186/scrt59

Published: 19 April 2011


Satellite cells are a population of adult muscle stem cells that play a key role in mediating muscle regeneration. Activation of these quiescent stem cells in response to muscle injury involves modulating expression of multiple developmentally regulated genes, including mediators of the muscle-specific transcription program: Pax7, Myf5, MyoD and myogenin. Here we present evidence suggesting an essential role for the antagonistic Polycomb group and Trithorax group proteins in the epigenetic marking of muscle-specific genes to ensure proper temporal and spatial expression during muscle regeneration. The importance of Polycomb group and Trithorax group proteins in establishing chromatin structure at muscle-specific genes suggests that therapeutic modulation of their activity in satellite cells could represent a viable approach for repairing damaged muscle in muscular dystrophy.