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Title: The role of Yes-associated protein (YAP) in skeletal muscle satellite cells and myofibres
Author: Judson, Robert Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 1727
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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In spite of its post mitotic nature, skeletal muscle maintains remarkable plasticity. Muscle fibres (myofibres) are capable of large alterations in their size as well as an enormous ability to regenerate following injury – thanks to a potent population of resident stem cells (satellite cells). Deciphering the molecular signalling networks responsible for skeletal muscle growth and regeneration is of key scientific interest – not least because of the therapeutic potential these pathways may hold for the treatment of diseases such as muscular dystrophy. In this thesis, the transcriptional co-factor Yes-Associated protein (Yap), the downstream effector of the Hippo Pathway, was investigated in skeletal muscle. Using gain and loss of function approaches within in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models, the contribution of Yap in regulating both satellite cell behaviour and myofibre growth was investigated. Yap expression and activity are dynamically regulated during satellite cell activation, proliferation and differentiation ex vivo. Overexpression of Yap increased satellite cell proliferation and maintained cells in a ‘naive’, ‘activated’ state by inhibiting myogenic commitment. Knock-down of Yap impaired satellite cell expansion, but did not influence myogenic differentiation. Yap interacts with Tead transcription factors in myoblasts to upregulate genes such as CyclinD1 and Myf5. Forced expression of Yap eventually led to the oncogenic transformation of myoblasts in vitro. Contrary to predictions, constitutive expression of Yap under an inducible muscle-specific promoter in adult mice failed to induce growth and instead led to muscle wasting, atrophy and degeneration – providing evidence against the notion that Yap represents a universal regulator of tissue growth. These data provide the first insight into the function of Yap in skeletal muscle. Results highlight a novel role for Yap in regulating myogenic progression in satellite cells, as well as its propensity to induce oncogenic transformation. The precise function of Yap in adult myofibres remains unclear however, data presented here demonstrates clear cell-type specific roles for Yap compared to observations made in other tissues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Musculoskeletal system ; Muscle, Skeletal ; Muscles ; Stem cells