MyD88 promotes myoblast fusion in a cell-autonomous manner

Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 20;8(1):1624. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01866-w.


Myoblast fusion is an indispensable step for skeletal muscle development, postnatal growth, and regeneration. Myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88) is an adaptor protein that mediates Toll-like receptors and interleukin-1 receptor signaling. Here we report a cell-autonomous role of MyD88 in the regulation of myoblast fusion. MyD88 protein levels are increased during in vitro myogenesis and in conditions that promote skeletal muscle growth in vivo. Deletion of MyD88 impairs fusion of myoblasts without affecting their survival, proliferation, or differentiation. MyD88 regulates non-canonical NF-κB and canonical Wnt signaling during myogenesis and promotes skeletal muscle growth and overload-induced myofiber hypertrophy in mice. Ablation of MyD88 reduces myofiber size during muscle regeneration, whereas its overexpression promotes fusion of exogenous myoblasts to injured myofibers. Our study shows that MyD88 modulates myoblast fusion and suggests that augmenting its levels may be a therapeutic approach to improve skeletal muscle formation in degenerative muscle disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Fusion
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / genetics
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / metabolism*
  • Myoblasts / cytology*
  • Myoblasts / metabolism*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway


  • Myd88 protein, mouse
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88