Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Enzyme important for muscle cell maturation identified

11 March 2022

Fusion Food

Building muscle is important for everyone – not just image-conscious gym-goers. A small pool of myoblasts – muscle cell precursors – supply a stream of new muscle cells whenever growth or repair is needed. A new study examining these cells has discovered that an enzyme called ERK keeps this supply in check, and that inhibiting it prompts rapid growth of muscle fibres in cultures in the lab. When ERK is blocked, a second enzyme, CaMKII springs into action, triggering the muscle starter cells to mature and fuse together (right panel of timelapse video), forming recognisable muscle structure. Mice lacking CaMKII recovered from muscle injury more slowly, showing its role in natural healing. Being able to boost muscle regeneration could help recovery from injury, and could also prove useful for lab-grown meat, which might reduce livestock farming and help build a more sustainable and healthy world for us all.

Written by Anthony Lewis

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.