Musculin/MyoR is a new member of basic helixloop-helix transcription factors, and its expression is limited to skeletal muscle precursors. Here, we report that musculin/MyoR is expressed in adult kidney side population (SP) cells and can regulate their function. SP phenotype can be used to purify stem cell-rich fractions. Microarray analysis clarified that musculin/MyoR was exclusively expressed in kidney SP cells, and the cells resided in the renal interstitial space. Musculin/MyoR-positive cells were decreased in acute renal failure, but infusion of kidney SP cells increased musculin/MyoR-positive cells and improved renal function. Kidney SP cells in reversible acute renal failure expressed a high level of renoprotective factors and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), but not in irreversible chronic renal failure. In cultured kidney SP cells, LIF stimulated gene expression of renoprotective factors, and down-regulation of musculin/MyoR augmented LIF-induced gene expression. Our results suggest that musculin/MyoR may play important roles not only in developmental processes but also in regenerative processes in adult tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas