Bmi1 enhances skeletal muscle regeneration through MT1-mediated oxidative stress protection in a mouse model of dystrophinopathy

Valentina Di Foggia, Xinyu Zhang, Danilo Licastro, Mattia F M Gerli, Rahul Phadke, Francesco Muntoni, Philippos Mourikis, Shahragim Tajbakhsh, Matthew Ellis, Laura C Greaves, Robert W Taylor, Giulio Cossu, Lesley G Robson, Silvia Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Polycomb group (PcG) protein Bmi1 is an essential epigenetic regulator of stem cell function during normal development and in adult organ systems. We show that mild up-regulation of Bmi1 expression in the adult stem cells of the skeletal muscle leads to a remarkable improvement of muscle function in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The molecular mechanism underlying enhanced physiological function of Bmi1 depends on the injury context and it is mediated by metallothionein 1 (MT1)-driven modulation of resistance to oxidative stress in the satellite cell population. These results lay the basis for developing Bmi1 pharmacological activators, which either alone or in combination with MT1 agonists could be a powerful novel therapeutic approach to improve regeneration in muscle wasting conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2617-33
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of experimental medicine
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014


  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA Damage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Metallothionein
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Oxidative Stress
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Regeneration
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle
  • Systems Biology
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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