Stem cells are characterized by their clonal ability both to generate differentiated progeny and to undergo self-renewal. Studies of adult mammalian organs have revealed stem cells in practically every tissue. In the adult skeletal muscle, satellite cells are the primary muscle stem cells, responsible for postnatal muscle growth, hypertrophy, and regeneration. In the past decade, several molecular markers have been found that identify satellite cells in quiescent and activated states. However, despite their prime importance, surprisingly little is known about the biology of satellite cells, as their analysis was for a long time hampered by a lack of genetically amenable experimental models where their properties can be dissected. Here, we review how the embryonic origin of satellite cells was discovered using chick and mouse model systems and discuss how cells from other sources can contribute to muscle regeneration. We present evidence for evolutionarily conserved properties of muscle stem cells and their identification in lower vertebrates and in the fruit fly. In Drosophila, muscle stem cells called adult muscle precursors (AMP) can be identified in embryos and in larvae by persistent expression of a myogenic basic helix-loop-helix factor Twist. AMP cells play a crucial role in the Drosophila life cycle, allowing de novo formation and regeneration of adult musculature during metamorphosis. Based on the premise that AMPs represent satellite-like cells of the fruit fly, important insight into the biology of vertebrate muscle stem cells can be gained from genetic analysis in Drosophila.
|Pages (from-to)||3332 - 3342|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|