Academic Appointments

Community and International Work

  • Stanford University Postdoctoral Association, Stanford


    Enriching the postdoc experience at Stanford

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    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Molecular mechanisms underlying neuromuscular disorders and the molecular regulation of satellite cell quiescence and activation in relation to normal aging.


All Publications

  • Single-cell transcriptomics of 20 mouse organs creates a Tabula Muris. Nature 2018; 562 (7727): 367–72


    Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4

    View details for PubMedID 30283141

  • Transcriptional Profiling of Quiescent Muscle Stem Cells In Vivo CELL REPORTS van Velthoven, C. J., de Morree, A., Egner, I. M., Brett, J. O., Rando, T. A. 2017; 21 (7): 1994–2004


    Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) persist in a quiescent state and activate in response to specific stimuli. The quiescent state is both actively maintained and dynamically regulated. However, analyses of quiescence have come primarily from cells removed from their niche. Although these cells are still quiescent, biochemical changes certainly occur during the isolation process. Here, we analyze the transcriptome of MuSCs in vivo utilizing MuSC-specific labeling of RNA. Notably, labeling transcripts during the isolation procedure revealed very active transcription of specific subsets of genes. However, using the transcription inhibitor α-amanitin, we show that the ex vivo transcriptome remains largely reflective of the in vivo transcriptome. Together, these data provide perspective on the molecular regulation of the quiescent state at the transcriptional level, demonstrate the utility of these tools for probing transcriptional dynamics in vivo, and provide an invaluable resource for understanding stem cell state transitions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.037

    View details for Web of Science ID 000415073200023

    View details for PubMedID 29141228

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5711481

  • Staufen1 inhibits MyoD translation to actively maintain muscle stem cell quiescence PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA de Morree, A., van Velthoven, C. J., Gan, Q., Salvi, J. S., Klein, J., Akimenko, I., Quarta, M., Biressi, S., Rando, T. A. 2017; 114 (43): E8996–E9005


    Tissue regeneration depends on the timely activation of adult stem cells. In skeletal muscle, the adult stem cells maintain a quiescent state and proliferate upon injury. We show that muscle stem cells (MuSCs) use direct translational repression to maintain the quiescent state. High-resolution single-molecule and single-cell analyses demonstrate that quiescent MuSCs express high levels of Myogenic Differentiation 1 (MyoD) transcript in vivo, whereas MyoD protein is absent. RNA pulldowns and costainings show that MyoD mRNA interacts with Staufen1, a potent regulator of mRNA localization, translation, and stability. Staufen1 prevents MyoD translation through its interaction with the MyoD 3'-UTR. MuSCs from Staufen1 heterozygous (Staufen1+/-) mice have increased MyoD protein expression, exit quiescence, and begin proliferating. Conversely, blocking MyoD translation maintains the quiescent phenotype. Collectively, our data show that MuSCs express MyoD mRNA and actively repress its translation to remain quiescent yet primed for activation.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1708725114

    View details for Web of Science ID 000413520700011

    View details for PubMedID 29073096

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5664522

  • Deltex2 represses MyoD expression and inhibits myogenic differentiation by acting as a negative regulator of Jmjd1c PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Luo, D., de Morree, A., Boutet, S., Quach, N., Natu, V., Rustagi, A., Rando, T. A. 2017; 114 (15): E3071-E3080


    The myogenic regulatory factor MyoD has been implicated as a key regulator of myogenesis, and yet there is little information regarding its upstream regulators. We found that Deltex2 inhibits myogenic differentiation in vitro, and that skeletal muscle stem cells from Deltex2 knockout mice exhibit precocious myogenic differentiation and accelerated regeneration in response to injury. Intriguingly, Deltex2 inhibits myogenesis by suppressing MyoD transcription, and the Deltex2 knockout phenotype can be rescued by a loss-of-function allele for MyoD In addition, we obtained evidence that Deltex2 regulates MyoD expression by promoting the enrichment of histone 3 modified by dimethylation at lysine 9 at a key regulatory region of the MyoD locus. The enrichment is attributed to a Deltex2 interacting protein, Jmjd1c, whose activity is directly inhibited by Deltex2 and whose expression is required for MyoD expression in vivo and in vitro. Finally, we find that Deltex2 causes Jmjd1c monoubiquitination and inhibits its demethylase activity. Mutation of the monoubiquitination site in Jmjd1c abolishes the inhibitory effect of Deltex2 on Jmjd1c demethylase activity. These results reveal a mechanism by which a member of the Deltex family of proteins can inhibit cellular differentiation, and demonstrate a role of Deltex in the epigenetic regulation of myogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1613592114

    View details for Web of Science ID 000398789800012

    View details for PubMedID 28351977

  • An artificial niche preserves the quiescence of muscle stem cells and enhances their therapeutic efficacy. Nature biotechnology Quarta, M., Brett, J. O., DiMarco, R., de Morree, A., Boutet, S. C., Chacon, R., Gibbons, M. C., Garcia, V. A., Su, J., Shrager, J. B., Heilshorn, S., Rando, T. A. 2016; 34 (7): 752-759


    A promising therapeutic strategy for diverse genetic disorders involves transplantation of autologous stem cells that have been genetically corrected ex vivo. A major challenge in such approaches is a loss of stem cell potency during culture. Here we describe an artificial niche for maintaining muscle stem cells (MuSCs) in vitro in a potent, quiescent state. Using a machine learning method, we identified a molecular signature of quiescence and used it to screen for factors that could maintain mouse MuSC quiescence, thus defining a quiescence medium (QM). We also engineered muscle fibers that mimic the native myofiber of the MuSC niche. Mouse MuSCs maintained in QM on engineered fibers showed enhanced potential for engraftment, tissue regeneration and self-renewal after transplantation in mice. An artificial niche adapted to human cells similarly extended the quiescence of human MuSCs in vitro and enhanced their potency in vivo. Our approach for maintaining quiescence may be applicable to stem cells isolated from other tissues.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nbt.3576

    View details for PubMedID 27240197

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4942359

  • Dysferlin regulates cell adhesion in human monocytes. journal of biological chemistry de Morrée, A., Flix, B., Bagaric, I., Wang, J., van den Boogaard, M., Grand Moursel, L., Frants, R. R., Illa, I., Gallardo, E., Toes, R., van der Maarel, S. M. 2013; 288 (20): 14147-14157


    Dysferlin is mutated in a group of muscular dystrophies commonly referred to as dysferlinopathies. It is highly expressed in skeletal muscle, where it is important for sarcolemmal maintenance. Recent studies show that dysferlin is also expressed in monocytes. Moreover, muscle of dysferlinopathy patients is characterized by massive immune cell infiltrates, and dysferlin-negative monocytes were shown to be more aggressive and phagocytose more particles. This suggests that dysferlin deregulation in monocytes might contribute to disease progression, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Here we show that dysferlin expression is increased with differentiation in human monocytes and the THP1 monocyte cell model. Freshly isolated monocytes of dysferlinopathy patients show deregulated expression of fibronectin and fibronectin-binding integrins, which is recapitulated by transient knockdown of dysferlin in THP1 cells. Dysferlin forms a protein complex with these integrins at the cell membrane, and its depletion impairs cell adhesion. Moreover, patient macrophages show altered adhesion and motility. These findings suggest that dysferlin is involved in regulating cellular interactions and provide new insight into dysferlin function in inflammatory cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M112.448589

    View details for PubMedID 23558685

  • Self-regulated alternative splicing at the AHNAK locus FASEB JOURNAL de Morree, A., Droog, M., Moursel, L. G., Bisschop, I. J., Impagliazzo, A., Frants, R. R., Klooster, R., van der Maarel, S. M. 2012; 26 (1): 93-103


    AHNAK is a 700-kDa protein involved in cytoarchitecture and calcium signaling. It is secondarily reduced in muscle of dysferlinopathy patients and accumulates in muscle of calpainopathy patients, both affected by a muscular dystrophy. AHNAK directly interacts with dysferlin. This interaction is lost on cleavage of AHNAK by the protease calpain 3, explaining the molecular observations in patients. Currently, little is known of AHNAK regulation. We describe the self-regulation of multiple mRNA transcripts emanating from the AHNAK locus in muscle cells. We show that the AHNAK gene consists of a 17-kb exon flanked by multiple small exons. This genetic structure is shared by AHNAK2 and Periaxin, which share a common ancestor. Two major AHNAK transcripts are differentially expressed during muscle differentiation that encode for a small (17-kDa) and a large (700-kDa) protein isoform. These proteins interact in the cytoplasm, but the small AHNAK is also present in the nucleus. During muscle differentiation the small AHNAK is strongly increased, thereby establishing a positive feedback loop to regulate mRNA splicing of its own locus. A small 17-kDa isoform of Periaxin similarly traffics between the cytoplasm and the nucleus to regulate mRNA splicing. Thus, AHNAK constitutes a novel mechanism in post-transcriptional control of gene expression.

    View details for DOI 10.1096/fj.11-187971

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299202200011

    View details for PubMedID 21940993

  • Proteomic Analysis of the Dysferlin Protein Complex Unveils Its Importance for Sarcolemmal Maintenance and Integrity PLOS ONE de Morree, A., Hensbergen, P. J., van Haagen, H. H., Dragan, I., Deelder, A. M., 't Hoen, P. A., Frants, R. R., van der Maarel, S. M. 2010; 5 (11)


    Dysferlin is critical for repair of muscle membranes after damage. Mutations in dysferlin lead to a progressive muscular dystrophy. Recent studies suggest additional roles for dysferlin. We set out to study dysferlin's protein-protein interactions to obtain comprehensive knowledge of dysferlin functionalities in a myogenic context. We developed a robust and reproducible method to isolate dysferlin protein complexes from cells and tissue. We analyzed the composition of these complexes in cultured myoblasts, myotubes and skeletal muscle tissue by mass spectrometry and subsequently inferred potential protein functions through bioinformatics analyses. Our data confirm previously reported interactions and support a function for dysferlin as a vesicle trafficking protein. In addition novel potential functionalities were uncovered, including phagocytosis and focal adhesion. Our data reveal that the dysferlin protein complex has a dynamic composition as a function of myogenic differentiation. We provide additional experimental evidence and show dysferlin localization to, and interaction with the focal adhesion protein vinculin at the sarcolemma. Finally, our studies reveal evidence for cross-talk between dysferlin and its protein family member myoferlin. Together our analyses show that dysferlin is not only a membrane repair protein but also important for muscle membrane maintenance and integrity.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0013854

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283839100011

    View details for PubMedID 21079765

  • Calpain 3 Is a Rapid-Action, Unidirectional Proteolytic Switch Central to Muscle Remodeling PLOS ONE de Morree, A., Hulsik, D. L., Impagliazzo, A., van Haagen, H. H., de Galan, P., van Remoortere, A., 't Hoen, P. A., van Ommen, G. B., Frants, R. R., van der Maarel, S. M. 2010; 5 (8)


    Calpain 3 (CAPN3) is a cysteine protease that when mutated causes Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2A. It is thereby the only described Calpain family member that genetically causes a disease. Due to its inherent instability little is known of its substrates or its mechanism of activity and pathogenicity. In this investigation we define a primary sequence motif underlying CAPN3 substrate cleavage. This motif can transform non-related proteins into substrates, and identifies >300 new putative CAPN3 targets. Bioinformatic analyses of these targets demonstrate a critical role in muscle cytoskeletal remodeling and identify novel CAPN3 functions. Among the new CAPN3 substrates are three E3 SUMO ligases of the Protein Inhibitor of Activated Stats (PIAS) family. CAPN3 can cleave PIAS proteins and negatively regulates PIAS3 sumoylase activity. Consequently, SUMO2 is deregulated in patient muscle tissue. Our study thus uncovers unexpected crosstalk between CAPN3 proteolysis and protein sumoylation, with strong implications for muscle remodeling.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0011940

    View details for Web of Science ID 000280574300008

    View details for PubMedID 20694146

  • Calpain 3 is a modulator of the dysferlin protein complex in skeletal muscle HUMAN MOLECULAR GENETICS Huang, Y., de Morree, A., van Remoortere, A., Bushby, K., Frants, R. R., Dunnen, J. T., van der Maarel, S. M. 2008; 17 (12): 1855-1866


    Muscular dystrophies comprise a genetically heterogeneous group of degenerative muscle disorders characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weakness. Two forms of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, 2A and 2B, are caused by mutations in calpain 3 (CAPN3) and dysferlin (DYSF), respectively. While CAPN3 may be involved in sarcomere remodeling, DYSF is proposed to play a role in membrane repair. The coexistence of CAPN3 and AHNAK, a protein involved in subsarcolemmal cytoarchitecture and membrane repair, in the dysferlin protein complex and the presence of proteolytic cleavage fragments of AHNAK in skeletal muscle led us to investigate whether AHNAK can act as substrate for CAPN3. We here demonstrate that AHNAK is cleaved by CAPN3 and show that AHNAK is lost in cells expressing active CAPN3. Conversely, AHNAK accumulates when calpain 3 is defective in skeletal muscle of calpainopathy patients. Moreover, we demonstrate that AHNAK fragments cleaved by CAPN3 have lost their affinity for dysferlin. Thus, our findings suggest interconnectivity between both diseases by revealing a novel physiological role for CAPN3 in regulating the dysferlin protein complex.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/hmg/ddn081

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256275600017

    View details for PubMedID 18334579

  • GREG cells, a dysferlin-deficient myogenic mouse cell line EXPERIMENTAL CELL RESEARCH Humphrey, G. W., Mekhedov, E., Blank, P. S., de Morree, A., Pekkurnaz, G., Nagaraju, K., Zimmerberg, J. 2012; 318 (2): 127-135


    The dysferlinopathies (e.g. LGMD2b, Myoshi myopathy) are progressive, adult-onset muscle wasting syndromes caused by mutations in the gene coding for dysferlin. Dysferlin is a large (~200kDa) membrane-anchored protein, required for maintenance of plasmalemmal integrity in muscle fibers. To facilitate analysis of dysferlin function in muscle cells, we have established a dysferlin-deficient myogenic cell line (GREG cells) from the A/J mouse, a genetic model for dysferlinopathy. GREG cells have no detectable dysferlin expression, but proliferate normally in growth medium and fuse into functional myotubes in differentiation medium. GREG myotubes exhibit deficiencies in plasma membrane repair, as measured by laser wounding in the presence of FM1-43 dye. Under the wounding conditions used, the majority (~66%) of GREG myotubes lack membrane repair capacity, while no membrane repair deficiency was observed in dysferlin-normal C2C12 myotubes, assayed under the same conditions. We discuss the possibility that the observed heterogeneity in membrane resealing represents genetic compensation for dysferlin deficiency.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.10.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000297902800004

    View details for PubMedID 22020321

  • Comparison of Dysferlin Expression in Human Skeletal Muscle with That in Monocytes for the Diagnosis of Dysferlin Myopathy PLOS ONE Gallardo, E., de Luna, N., Diaz-Manera, J., Rojas-Garcia, R., Gonzalez-Quereda, L., Flix, B., de Morree, A., van der Maarel, S., Illa, I. 2011; 6 (12)


    Dysferlinopathies are caused by mutations in the dysferlin gene (DYSF). Diagnosis is complex due to the high clinical variability of the disease and because dysferlin expression in the muscle biopsy may be secondarily reduced due to a primary defect in some other gene. Dysferlin is also expressed in peripheral blood monocytes (PBM). Studying dysferlin in monocytes is used for the diagnosis of dysferlin myopathies. The aim of the study was to determine whether dysferlin expression in PBM correlates with that in skeletal muscle.Using western-blot (WB) we quantified dysferlin expression in PBM from 21 pathological controls with other myopathies in whom mutations in DYSF were excluded and from 17 patients who had dysferlinopathy and two mutations in DYSF. Results were compared with protein expression in muscle by WB and immunohistochemistry (IH). We found a good correlation between skeletal muscle and monocytes using WB. However, IH results were misleading because abnormal expression of dysferlin was also observed in 13/21 pathological controls.The analysis of dysferlin protein expression in PBM is helpful when: 1) the skeletal muscle IH pattern is abnormal or 2) when muscle WB can not be performed either because muscle sample is lacking or insufficient or because the muscle biopsy is taken from a muscle at an end-stage and it mainly consists of fat and fibrotic tissue.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0029061

    View details for Web of Science ID 000298664400035

    View details for PubMedID 22194990

  • In silico discovery and experimental validation of new protein-protein interactions PROTEOMICS van Haagen, H. H., 't Hoen, P. A., de Morree, A., van Roon-Mom, W. M., Peters, D. J., Roos, M., Mons, B., van Ommen, G., Schuemie, M. J. 2011; 11 (5): 843-853


    We introduce a framework for predicting novel protein-protein interactions (PPIs), based on Fisher's method for combining probabilities of predictions that are based on different data sources, such as the biomedical literature, protein domain and mRNA expression information. Our method compares favorably to our previous method based on text-mining alone and other methods such as STRING. We evaluated our algorithms through the prediction of experimentally found protein interactions underlying Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington's Disease and Polycystic Kidney Disease, which had not yet been recorded in protein-protein interaction databases. We found a 1.74-fold increase in the mean average prediction precision for dysferlin and a 3.09-fold for huntingtin when compared to STRING. The top 10 of predicted interaction partners of huntingtin were analysed in depth. Five were identified previously, and the other five were new potential interaction partners. The full matrix of human protein pairs and their prediction scores are available for download. Our framework can be extended to predict other types of relationships such as proteins in a complex, pathway or related disease mechanisms.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/pmic.201000398

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288137300002

    View details for PubMedID 21280221

  • Novel Protein-Protein Interactions Inferred from Literature Context PLOS ONE van Haagen, H. H., 't Hoen, P. A., Bovo, A. B., de Morree, A., van Mulligen, E. M., Chichester, C., Kors, J. A., den Dunnen, J. T., van Ommen, G. B., Van der Maarel, S. M., Kern, V. M., Mons, B., Schuemie, M. J. 2009; 4 (11)


    We have developed a method that predicts Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) based on the similarity of the context in which proteins appear in literature. This method outperforms previously developed PPI prediction algorithms that rely on the conjunction of two protein names in MEDLINE abstracts. We show significant increases in coverage (76% versus 32%) and sensitivity (66% versus 41% at a specificity of 95%) for the prediction of PPIs currently archived in 6 PPI databases. A retrospective analysis shows that PPIs can efficiently be predicted before they enter PPI databases and before their interaction is explicitly described in the literature. The practical value of the method for discovery of novel PPIs is illustrated by the experimental confirmation of the inferred physical interaction between CAPN3 and PARVB, which was based on frequent co-occurrence of both proteins with concepts like Z-disc, dysferlin, and alpha-actinin. The relationships between proteins predicted by our method are broader than PPIs, and include proteins in the same complex or pathway. Dependent on the type of relationships deemed useful, the precision of our method can be as high as 90%. The full set of predicted interactions is available in a downloadable matrix and through the webtool Nermal, which lists the most likely interaction partners for a given protein. Our framework can be used for prioritizing potential interaction partners, hitherto undiscovered, for follow-up studies and to aid the generation of accurate protein interaction maps.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0007894

    View details for Web of Science ID 000271936700024

    View details for PubMedID 19924298

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2774517

  • Insect lipoprotein biogenesis depends on an amphipathic beta cluster in apolipophorin II/I and is stimulated by microsomal triglyceride transfer protein JOURNAL OF LIPID RESEARCH Smolenaars, M. M., de Morree, A., Kerver, J., Van der Horst, D. J., Rodenburg, K. W. 2007; 48 (9): 1955-1965


    Lipoproteins transport lipids in the circulation of an evolutionally wide diversity of animals. The pathway for lipoprotein biogenesis has been revealed to a large extent in mammals only, in which apolipoprotein B (apoB) acquires lipids via the assistance of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) and binds them by means of amphipathic protein structures. To investigate whether this is a common mechanism for lipoprotein biogenesis in animals, we studied the structural elements involved in the assembly of the insect lipoprotein, lipophorin. LOCATE sequence analysis predicted that the insect lipoprotein precursor, apolipophorin II/I (apoLp-II/I), contains clusters of amphipathic alpha-helices and beta-strands, organized along the protein as N-alpha(1)-beta-alpha(2)-C, reminiscent of a truncated form of apoB. Recombinant expression of a series of C-terminal truncation variants of Locusta migratoria apoLp-II/I in an insect cell (Sf9) expression system revealed that the formation of a buoyant high density lipoprotein requires the amphipathic beta cluster. Coexpression of apoLp-II/I with the MTP homolog of Drosophila melanogaster affected insect lipoprotein biogenesis quantitatively as well as qualitatively, as the secretion of apoLp-II/I proteins was increased several-fold and the buoyant density of the secreted lipoprotein decreased concomitantly, indicative of augmented lipidation. Based on these findings, we propose that, despite specific modifications, the assembly of lipoproteins involves MTP as well as amphipathic structures in the apolipoprotein carrier, both in mammals and insects. Thus, lipoprotein biogenesis in animals appears to rely on structural elements that are of early metazoan origin.

    View details for DOI 10.1194/jlr.M600434-JLR200

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248792100006

    View details for PubMedID 17568063