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mRNA translation control by Dhx36 binding to 5’UTR G-quadruplex structures is essential for skeletal muscle stem cell regenerative functions

By Xiaona Chen, Jie Yuan, Guang Xue, Silvia Campanario Sanz, Di Wang, Wen Wang, Xi Mou, Mubarak Ishaq Umar, Joan Isern, Yu Zhao, Liangqiang He, Yuying Li, Christopher J. Mann, Xiaohua Yu, Lei Wang, Eusebio Perdiguero, Wei Chen, Yuanchao Xue, Yoshikuni Nagamine, Chun-Kit Kwok, Hao Sun, Pura Muñoz-Cánoves, Huating Wang

Posted 31 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.30.274068

Skeletal muscle has a remarkable ability to regenerate owing to its resident stem cells, also called satellite cells (SCs), that are normally quiescent. When stimulated by damage, SCs activate and expand to form new fibers. The mechanisms underlying SC proliferative progression remain poorly understood. Here we show that Dhx36, a helicase that unwinds RNA quadruplex (rG4) structures, is essential for muscle regeneration by regulating SC expansion. We find that Dhx36 (initially named RHAU) is barely expressed at quiescence and is highly induced during SC activation and proliferation. Inducible deletion of Dhx36 in adult SCs causes defective proliferation and muscle regeneration after damage. System-wide mapping in proliferating SCs revealed Dhx36 binding predominantly to rG4 structures at various regions of mRNAs, while integrated polysome profiling showed that Dhx36 promotes mRNA translation via 5’UTR rG4 binding. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Dhx36 specifically regulates the translation of Gnai2 mRNA by unwinding its 5’UTR rG4 structures and identify Gnai2 as a downstream effector of Dhx36 for SC expansion. Altogether our findings uncover Dhx36 as an indispensable post-transcriptional regulator of SC function and muscle regeneration through binding and unwinding rG4 structures at 5’UTR of target mRNAs. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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