Why do muscle stem cells need a primary cilium for effective regeneration?


Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors required for the healthy maintenance of this important tissue, we study muscle stem cells (MuSC). These stem cells are resident in adult muscle, they repair muscle after injury or build new muscle after exercise and they can be detected on myofibres by immunostaining. We are specifically interested in dissecting the role of the primary cilium – a cellular “antenna” that receives signals, for MuSC function.

We study a mouse mutant, which has been engineered to lack the cilium only on MuSCs. We have already found that this leads to impaired muscle regeneration after injury. This project will investigate the cellular and molecular processes that are perturbed during skeletal muscle regeneration and repair when the cilium is absent. The student will isolate genetically labelled MuSCs, both mutant and wildtype, by FACS and examine them in culture for their ability to divide, differentiate and self-renew. In addition, the student will compare the molecular profiles of MuSC with and without a cilium and use RNA-seq transcriptomics followed by differential analysis.

The student will be supported by an expert team of supervisors and will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of muscle development in model organisms.