Srf controls satellite cell fusion through the maintenance of actin architecture

J Cell Biol. 2018 Feb 5;217(2):685-700. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201705130. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Satellite cells (SCs) are adult muscle stem cells that are mobilized when muscle homeostasis is perturbed. Here, we show that serum response factor (Srf) is needed for optimal SC-mediated hypertrophic growth. We identified Srf as a master regulator of SC fusion required in both fusion partners, whereas it was dispensable for SC proliferation and differentiation. We show that SC-specific Srf deletion leads to impaired actin cytoskeleton and report the existence of finger-like actin-based protrusions at fusion sites in vertebrates that were notoriously absent in fusion-defective myoblasts lacking Srf. Restoration of a polymerized actin network by overexpression of an α-actin isoform in Srf mutant SCs rescued their fusion with a control cell in vitro and in vivo and reestablished overload-induced muscle growth. These findings demonstrate the importance of Srf in controlling the organization of actin cytoskeleton and actin-based protrusions for myoblast fusion in mammals and its requirement to achieve efficient hypertrophic myofiber growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Fusion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • Serum Response Factor / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Serum Response Factor