Uncovering the molecular network behind muscle memory.
The term muscle memory describes how previous stimuli such as exercise or doping enhances the effect of subsequent exercise, even with long-term intervening inactivity (see Figure 1). How this functional memory is stored is not known.
Each skeletal muscle consists of long fibres with multiple nuclei, known as myonuclei. The fibres are plastic and can change in size and properties in response to variation in neural signal, loading condition or hormonal signals. However, the nuclei are not lost, even after long period of inactivity, making them a good candidate for hosting the memory.
Due to the nature of the fibres and the heterogeneity of the muscle tissue, the information on how the memory is stored is sparse. Recently, our group have overcome these issues by developing a novel method to identify the muscle-specific nuclei (see Figure 2), so it is now possible to investigate the molecular and epigenetic network behind the muscle memory from the physiological to the genomic level.
Our group has 1-2 master projects available where the candidates are going to investigate how the muscles store the memory linking physiological adaptations to alterations on the molecular and genomic level.
In the projects, the students will gain a strong background in physiology and molecular biology. Some of the methods you will learn: confocal imaging, real-time qPCR western blotting, mammalian cell culture and animal handling.
The project will be performed at the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology in the laboratory of Professor Kristian Gundersen. The candidates will be supervised by Mads Bengtsen and Kristian Gundersen.
If any questions, contact Mads Bengtsen (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Kristine Bonnevies hus room 2611).
Figure 1: The functional muscle memory. Previous training leads to faster muscle growth compared to untrained control. Adapted from Gundersen et al. 2018.
Figure 2: Confocal 3D image of nuclei in muscle tissue (muscle specific myonuclei marked with green).