Almada, Albert E. et al.
Muscle satellite cells (SCs) are a quiescent (non-proliferative) stem cell population in uninjured skeletal muscle. Although SCs have been investigated for nearly 60 years, the molecular drivers that transform quiescent SCs into the rapidly dividing (activated) stem/progenitor cells that mediate muscle repair after injury remain largely unknown. Here we identify a prominent FBJ osteosarcoma oncogene (Fos) mRNA and protein signature in recently activated SCs that is rapidly, heterogeneously, and transiently induced by muscle damage. We further reveal a requirement for FOS to efficiently initiate key stem cell functions, including cell cycle entry, proliferative expansion, and muscle regeneration, via induction of "pro-regenerative" target genes that stimulate cell migration, division, and differentiation. Disruption of one of these Fos/AP-1 targets, NAD(+)-consuming mono-ADP-ribosyl-transferase 1 (Art1), in SCs delays cell cycle entry and impedes progenitor cell expansion and muscle regeneration. This work uncovers an early-activated FOS/ART1/mono-ADP-ribosylation (MARylation) pathway that is essential for stem cell-regenerative responses.