Malat1 regulates myogenic differentiation and muscle regeneration through modulating MyoD transcriptional activity

Xiaona Chen, Liangqiang He, Yu Zhao, Yuying Li, Suyang Zhang, Kun Sun, Karl So, Fengyuan Chen, Liang Zhou, Leina Lu, Lijun Wang, Xihua Zhu, Xichen Bao, Miguel A. Esteban, Shinichi Nakagawa, Kannanganattu V. Prasanth, Zhenguo Wu, Hao Sun, Huating Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malat1 is one of the most abundant long non-coding RNAs in various cell types; its exact cellular function is still a matter of intense investigation. In this study we characterized the function of Malat1 in skeletal muscle cells and muscle regeneration. Utilizing both in vitro and in vivo assays, we demonstrate that Malat1 has a role in regulating gene expression during myogenic differentiation of myoblast cells. Specifically, we found that knockdown of Malat1 accelerates the myogenic differentiation in cultured cells. Consistently, Malat1 knockout mice display enhanced muscle regeneration after injury and deletion of Malat1 in dystrophic mdx mice also improves the muscle regeneration. Mechanistically, in the proliferating myoblasts, Malat1 recruits Suv39h1 to MyoD-binding loci, causing trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3), which suppresses the target gene expression. Upon differentiation, the pro-myogenic miR-181a is increased and targets the nuclear Malat1 transcripts for degradation through Ago2-dependent nuclear RNA-induced silencing complex machinery; the Malat1 decrease subsequently leads to the destabilization of Suv39h1/HP1β/HDAC1-repressive complex and displacement by a Set7-containing activating complex, which allows MyoD trans-activation to occur. Together, our findings identify a regulatory axis of miR-181a-Malat1-MyoD/Suv39h1 in myogenesis and uncover a previously unknown molecular mechanism of Malat1 action in gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17002
JournalCell Discovery
StatePublished - Mar 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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