Ottawa researchers identify the Mike Holmes of muscle stem cells

January 27, 2016

Over the last several years, Dr. Lynn Megeney and his team have discovered that muscle stem cells have a strange way of giving rise to new muscle fibres. They turn on scissor-like proteins that cut up other proteins and strands of DNA. Usually this would demolish the cell, but in this case, the cuts actually serve to “turn on” certain regions of DNA that are important for muscle development. The catch is that the DNA needs to be repaired very quickly, before it causes problems. Now, Dr. Megeney and his colleagues have identified the master repair man – the Mike Holmes of muscle stem cells. It is a protein called X-ray cross-complementing protein 1 (XRCC1), which is also known to repair some other kinds of DNA damage. This research adds an important piece to the puzzle of muscle regeneration, and could aid in the development of new therapies for degenerative muscle diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. See Nature Cell Discovery or the Kuwait Times for details.

Authors: M.H. Al-Khalaf, L.E. Blake, B.D. Larsen, R.A. Bell, S. Brunette, R.J. Parks, M.A. Rudnicki, P.J. McKinnon, F.J. Dilworth, L.A. Megeney.

Funders:Canadian Institutes of Health Research, International Regulome Consortium, Mach-Gaensslen Foundation.

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