Satellite cells are required for the growth, maintenance, and regeneration of skeletal muscle. Quiescent satellite cells possess a primary cilium, a structure that regulates the processing of the GLI family of transcription factors. Here we find that GLI3, specifically, plays a critical role in satellite cell activation. Primary cilia-mediated processing of GLI3 is required to maintain satellite cells in a G0 dormant state. Strikingly, satellite cells lacking GLI3 enter GAlert in the absence of injury. Furthermore, GLI3 depletion or inhibition of its processing stimulates symmetrical division in satellite cells and expansion of the stem cell pool. As a result, satellite cells lacking GLI3 display rapid cell-cycle entry, increased proliferation and augmented self-renewal, and markedly enhanced long-term regenerative capacity. Therefore, our results reveal an essential role for primary cilia processing of GLI3 in regulating muscle stem cell activation and fate.

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