The actin regulator N-WASp is required for muscle-cell fusion in mice

Yael Gruenbaum-Cohen, Itamar Harel, Kfir Baruch Umansky, Eldad Tzahor, Scott B. Snapper, Ben Zion Shilo*, Eyal D. Schejter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


A fundamental aspect of skeletal myogenesis involves extensive rounds of cell fusion, in which individualmyoblasts are incorporated into growing muscle fibers. Here we demonstrate that N-WASp, a ubiquitous nucleation-promoting factor of branched microfilament arrays, is an essential contributor to skeletal muscle-cell fusion in developing mouse embryos. Analysis both in vivo and in primary satellite-cell cultures, shows that disruption of N-WASp function does not interfere with the program of skeletal myogenic differentiation, and does not affect myoblast motility, morphogenesis and attachment capacity. N-WASp - deficient myoblasts, however, fail to fuse. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that myoblast fusion requires N-WASp activity in both partners of a fusing myoblast pair. These findings reveal a specific role for N-WASp during mammalian myogenesis. WASp-family elements appear therefore to act as universal mediators of the myogenic cell-cell fusion mechanism underlying formation of functional muscle fibers, in both vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)11211-11216
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin nucleation
  • Myotube formation


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