Active GSK3β and an intact β-catenin TCF complex are essential for the differentiation of human myogenic progenitor cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 13;7(1):13189. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10731-1.


Wnt-β-catenin signalling is essential for skeletal muscle myogenesis during development, but its role in adult human skeletal muscle remains unknown. Here we have used human primary CD56Pos satellite cell-derived myogenic progenitors obtained from healthy individuals to study the role of Wnt-β-catenin signalling in myogenic differentiation. We show that dephosphorylated β-catenin (active-β-catenin), the central effector of the canonical Wnt cascade, is strongly upregulated at the onset of differentiation and undergoes nuclear translocation as differentiation progresses. To establish the role of Wnt signalling in regulating the differentiation process we manipulated key nodes of this pathway through a series of β-catenin gain-of-function (GSK3 inhibition and β-catenin overexpression) or loss-of-function experiments (dominant negative TCF4). Our data showed that manipulation of these critical pathway components led to varying degrees of disruption to the normal differentiation phenotype indicating the importance of Wnt signalling in regulating this process. We reveal an independent necessity for active-β-catenin in the fusion and differentiation of human myogenic progenitors and that dominant negative inhibition of TCF4 prevents differentiation completely. Together these data add new mechanistic insights into both Wnt signalling and adult human myogenic progenitor differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / genetics
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Development / genetics
  • Muscle Development / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • beta Catenin
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta