Cell competition promotes phenotypically silent cardiomyocyte replacement in the mammalian heart.
Villa del Campo C., Clavería C., Sierra R., Torres M.
Heterogeneous anabolic capacity in cell populations can trigger a phenomenon known as cell competition, through which less active cells are eliminated. Cell competition has been induced experimentally in stem/precursor cell populations in insects and mammals and takes place endogenously in early mouse embryonic cells. Here, we show that cell competition can be efficiently induced in mouse cardiomyocytes by mosaic overexpression of Myc during both gestation and adult life. The expansion of the Myc-overexpressing cardiomyocyte population is driven by the elimination of wild-type cardiomyocytes. Importantly, this cardiomyocyte replacement is phenotypically silent and does not affect heart anatomy or function. These results show that the capacity for cell competition in mammals is not restricted to stem cell populations and suggest that stimulated cell competition has potential as a cardiomyocyte-replacement strategy.