In response to muscle injury, satellite cells activate the p38α/β MAPK pathway to exit quiescence, then proliferate, repair skeletal muscle, and self-renew, replenishing the quiescent satellite cell pool. Although satellite cells are capable of asymmetric division, the mechanisms regulating satellite cell self-renewal are not understood. We found that satellite cells, once activated, enter the cell cycle and a subset undergoes asymmetric division, renewing the satellite cell pool. Asymmetric localization of the Par complex activates p38α/β MAPK in only one daughter cell, inducing MyoD, which permits cell cycle entry and generates a proliferating myoblast. The absence of p38α/β MAPK signaling in the other daughter cell prevents MyoD induction, renewing the quiescent satellite cell. Thus, satellite cells employ a mechanism to generate distinct daughter cells, coupling the Par complex and p38α/β MAPK signaling to link the response to muscle injury with satellite cell self-renewal.
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