Lin28a rejuvenates muscle stem cells via mitochondrial optimization

Wang P, Liu X, Elwin Tan J, Jason Chua M, Benjamin Chua Y, Luo L, Ma S, Cao W, Ma W, Yao Z, Chen Y, Miao H, Guo L, Zhang L, Guang L, Liang K, Wang Y, Su J, Liu S, Liu R, Wang RR, Li C, Ai N, Li Y, Jiang Z, Liu T, Teh BT, Jiang L, Yu K, Shyh-Chang N.
Preprint from
15 October 2021
The well-conserved correlation between juvenility and tissue regeneration was first discussed by Charles Darwin. Ectopic Lin28 is known to play an important role in somatic reprogramming and tissue regeneration, but endogenous Lin28’s role in tissue homeostasis and juvenility had remained unclear. Through lineage tracing, we found that a rare subset of muscle stem cells (MuSCs) expressing Lin28a can respond to acute injury by proliferating as Pax3+ or Pax7+ MuSCs, and contribute to all types of myofibers during muscle regeneration. Compared with conventional Pax7+ MuSCs, Lin28a+ MuSCs express more Pax3 and show enhanced myogenicity in vitro. In terms of the epigenetic clock, adult Lin28a+ MuSCs lie between adult Pax7+ MuSCs and embryonic Pax7+ myoblasts according to their DNA methylation profiles. We found that Lin28a+ MuSCs upregulate several embryonic limb bud mesoderm transcription factors and could maintain a juvenile state with enhanced stem cell self-renewal and stress-responsiveness in vitro and in vivo. When combined with telomerase and TP53 inhibition to biomimic mouse Lin28a+ MuSCs, we found that Lin28a can rejuvenate and dedifferentiate aged human primary myoblasts into engraftable, self-renewing MuSCs. Mechanistic studies revealed that Lin28a activated the HIF1A pathway by optimizing mitochondrial ROS (mtROS), thereby rejuvenating MuSC self-renewal and muscle regeneration. Our findings connect the stem cell factor Lin28, mtROS metabolism and stress response pathways to the process of stem cell rejuvenation and tissue regeneration.