Adult muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are critical for muscle homeostasis and regeneration, and their behavior relies on a finely regulated niche made of specific extracellular matrix (ECM) components and soluble factors. Among ECM proteins, collagen VI (Col6) influences the mechanical properties of the niche and, in turn, MuSC self-renewal capabilities. Here, we investigated whether Col6 can exert a direct function as a biochemical signal for regulating the stemness and differentiation of murine MuSCs and myoblasts. Native Col6, but not its pepsin-resistant fragment, counteracts the early differentiation of myogenic cells by reducing the expression of differentiation marker genes and preserving stemness features, with inhibition of the canonical Wnt pathway. Our data indicate that extracellular Col6 acts as a soluble ligand in delaying early myogenic differentiation by regulating intracellular signals involved in adult myogenesis.
Keywords: Collagen VI; Extracellular matrix; Muscle stem cells; Skeletal muscle.
© 2024. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.