Francois Cote led research in the development of skeletal muscles and discovered not only an integral part of their biological makeup but also two special proteins that allow the muscles to function properly.
He found that skeletal muscles are made up of many smaller cells called myoblasts, cells that originate from the stem cells in the human body. These myoblasts undergo cell fusion to form large skeletal muscles that allow movement in all vertebrates.
To develop and repair muscle, these myoblasts must perform “choreographed dances” to ensure that they fuse together correctly. They must fuse together in exact timing or else the muscle may not be the right size or may lose function. In order to keep the myoblasts in time, two proteins (ClqL4 and Stabilin-2) regulate the timing of cell fusion. If these proteins don’t work properly, it can lead to muscle weaknesses that can inhibit movement. This research is important for understanding and treating muscular diseases.