Skeletal muscle possesses remarkable regenerative potential due to satellite cells, an injury-responsive stem cell population located beneath the muscle basal lamina that expresses Pax7. By lineage tracing of progenitor cells expressing the Twist2 (Tw2) transcription factor in mice, we discovered a myogenic lineage that resides outside the basal lamina of adult skeletal muscle. Tw2+ progenitors are molecularly and anatomically distinct from satellite cells, are highly myogenic in vitro, and can fuse with themselves and with satellite cells. Tw2+ progenitors contribute specifically to type IIb/x myofibres during adulthood and muscle regeneration, and their genetic ablation causes wasting of type IIb myofibres. We show that Tw2 expression maintains progenitor cells in an undifferentiated state that is poised to initiate myogenesis in response to appropriate cues that extinguish Tw2 expression. Tw2-expressing myogenic progenitors represent a previously unrecognized, fibre-type-specific stem cell involved in postnatal muscle growth and regeneration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology