Scientists in the United States have developed a simple and robust approach for directly reprogramming mature skin cells into immature muscle cells. By combining transient expression of a protein called MyoD and treatment with three small molecules, the researchers converted mouse skin cells into induced myogenic progenitor cells (iMPCs). These cells propagated extensively and shared key molecular and functional properties with skeletal muscle stem cells. When transplanted into mice with leg injuries, the iMPCs engrafted in the damaged tissue and contributed to sustained muscle regeneration. The work appears May 8 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

Link to full Cell Press release on study led by MGH investigator Konrad Hochedlinger.