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Hyaluronic acid, CD44 and RHAMM regulate myoblast behavior during embryogenesis

Matrix Biology
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an extracellular matrix (ECM) component that has been shown to play a significant role in regulating muscle cell behavior during repair and regeneration. For instance, ECM remodeling after muscle injury involves an upregulation in HA expression that is coupled with skeletal muscle precursor cell recruitment. However, little is known about the role of HA during skeletal muscle development. To gain insight into the way in which HA mediates embryonic myogenesis, we first determined the spatial distribution and gene expression of CD44, RHAMM and other HA related proteins in embryonic day (E)10.5 to E12.5 murine forelimbs. While HA and CD44 expression remained high, RHAMM decreased at both the protein (via immunohistochemistry) and RNA (via qPCR) levels. Next, we determined that 4-methylumbelliferone-mediated knockdown of HA synthesis inhibited the migration and proliferation of E11.5/E12.5 forelimb-derived cells. Then, the influence of CD44 and RHAMM on myoblast and connective tissue cell behavior was investigated using antibodies against these receptors. Anti-RHAMM, but not anti-CD44, significantly decreased the total distance myogenic progenitors migrated over 24 h, whereas both inhibited connective tissue cell migration. In contrast, anti-CD44 inhibited the proliferation of connective tissue cells and muscle progenitors, but anti-RHAMM had no effect. However, when myoblasts and connective tissue cells were depleted of CD44 and RHAMM by shRNA, motility and proliferation were significantly inhibited in both cells indicating that blocking cell surface-localized CD44 and RHAMM does not have as pronounced effect as global shRNA-mediated depletion of these receptors. These results show, for the first time, the distribution and activity of RHAMM in the context of skeletal muscle. Furthermore, our data indicate that HA, through interactions with CD44 and RHAMM, promotes myogenic progenitor migration and proliferation. Confirmation of the role of HA and its receptors in directing myogenesis will be useful for the design of regenerative therapies that aim to promote the restoration of damaged or diseased muscle.
Keywords: Hyaluronic acid, Myogenesis, CD44, RHAMM, Limb development, Connective tissue


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