In vivo partial reprogramming of myofibers promotes muscle regeneration by remodeling the stem cell niche

Nat Commun. 2021 May 25;12(1):3094. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23353-z.


Short-term, systemic expression of the Yamanaka reprogramming factors (Oct-3/4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc [OSKM]) has been shown to rejuvenate aging cells and promote tissue regeneration in vivo. However, the mechanisms by which OSKM promotes tissue regeneration are unknown. In this work, we focus on a specific tissue and demonstrate that local expression of OSKM, specifically in myofibers, induces the activation of muscle stem cells or satellite cells (SCs), which accelerates muscle regeneration in young mice. In contrast, expressing OSKM directly in SCs does not improve muscle regeneration. Mechanistically, expressing OSKM in myofibers regulates the expression of genes important for the SC microenvironment, including upregulation of p21, which in turn downregulates Wnt4. This is critical because Wnt4 is secreted by myofibers to maintain SC quiescence. Thus, short-term induction of the Yamanaka factors in myofibers may promote tissue regeneration by modifying the stem cell niche.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myofibrils / metabolism*
  • Myofibrils / physiology
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Regeneration / genetics*
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • Stem Cell Niche*
  • Wnt4 Protein / genetics


  • Klf4 protein, mouse
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Wnt4 Protein