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RNA-binding proteins direct myogenic cell fate decisions.


RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), essential for skeletal muscle regeneration, cause muscle degeneration and neuromuscular disease when mutated. Why mutations in these ubiquitously expressed RBPs orchestrate complex tissue regeneration and direct cell fate decisions in skeletal muscle remains poorly understood. Single-cell RNA-sequencing of regenerating Mus musculus skeletal muscle reveals that RBP expression, including the expression of many neuromuscular disease-associated RBPs, is temporally regulated in skeletal muscle stem cells and correlates with specific stages of myogenic differentiation. By combining machine learning with RBP engagement scoring, we discovered that the neuromuscular disease-associated RBP Hnrnpa2b1 is a differentiation-specifying regulator of myogenesis that controls myogenic cell fate transitions during terminal differentiation in mice. The timing of RBP expression specifies cell fate transitions by providing post-transcriptional regulation of messenger RNAs that coordinate stem cell fate decisions during tissue regeneration.

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