Exploiting live imaging to track nuclei during myoblast differentiation and fusion

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Nuclear positioning within cells is important for multiple cellular processes in development and regeneration. The most intriguing example of nuclear positioning occurs during skeletal muscle differentiation. Muscle fibers (myofibers) are multinucleated cells formed by the fusion of muscle precursor cells (myoblasts) derived from muscle stem cells (satellite cells) that undergo proliferation and differentiation. Correct nuclear positioning within myofibers is required for the proper muscle regeneration and function. The common procedure to assess myoblast differentiation and myofiber formation relies on fixed cells analyzed by immunofluorescence, which impedes the study of nuclear movement and cell behavior over time. Here, we describe a method for the analysis of myoblast differentiation and myofiber formation by live cell imaging. We provide a software for automated nuclear tracking to obtain a high-throughput quantitative characterization of nuclear dynamics and myoblast behavior (i.e., the trajectory) during differentiation and fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58888
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number146
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Biology
  • Differentiation
  • Fusion
  • Issue 146
  • Muscle
  • Myoblast
  • Myofiber
  • Myotube
  • Nucleus
  • Time-lapse microscopy
  • Tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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