Differential requirements for myogenic regulatory factors distinguish medial and lateral somitic, cranial and fin muscle fibre populations.
ABSTRACT: Myogenic regulatory factors of the Myod family (MRFs) are transcription factors essential for mammalian skeletal myogenesis. However, the roles of each gene in myogenesis remain unclear, owing partly to genetic linkage at the Myf5/Mrf4 locus and to rapid morphogenetic movements in the amniote somite. In mice, Myf5 is essential for the earliest epaxial myogenesis, whereas Myod is required for timely differentiation of hypaxially derived muscle. A second major subdivision of the somite is between primaxial muscle of the somite proper and abaxial somite-derived migratory muscle precursors. Here, we use a combination of mutant and morphant analysis to ablate the function of each of the four conserved MRF genes in zebrafish, an organism that has retained a more ancestral bodyplan. We show that a fundamental distinction in somite myogenesis is into medial versus lateral compartments, which correspond to neither epaxial/hypaxial nor primaxial/abaxial subdivisions. In the medial compartment, Myf5 and/or Myod drive adaxial slow fibre and medial fast fibre differentiation. Myod-driven Myogenin activity alone is sufficient for lateral fast somitic and pectoral fin fibre formation from the lateral compartment, as well as for cranial myogenesis. Myogenin activity is a significant contributor to fast fibre differentiation. Mrf4 does not contribute to early myogenesis in zebrafish. We suggest that the differential use of duplicated MRF paralogues in this novel two-component myogenic system facilitated the diversification of vertebrates.
Project description:Mrf4 (Myf6) is a member of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) myogenic regulatory transcription factor (MRF) family, which also contains Myod, Myf5 and myogenin. Mrf4 is implicated in commitment of amniote cells to skeletal myogenesis and is also abundantly expressed in many adult muscle fibres. The specific role of Mrf4 is unclear both because mrf4 null mice are viable, suggesting redundancy with other MRFs, and because of genetic interactions at the complex mrf4/myf5 locus. We report the cloning and expression of an mrf4 gene from zebrafish, Danio rerio, which shows conservation of linkage to myf5. Mrf4 mRNA accumulates in a subset of terminally differentiated muscle fibres in parallel with myosin protein in the trunk and fin. Although most, possibly all, trunk muscle expresses mrf4, the level of mRNA is dynamically regulated. No expression is detected in muscle precursor cell populations prior to myosin accumulation. Moreover, mrf4 expression is not detected in head muscles, at least at early stages. As fish mature, mrf4 expression is pronounced in the region of slow muscle fibres.
Project description:Myogenic regulatory factors of the myod family (MRFs) are transcription factors essential for mammalian skeletal myogenesis. Here we show that a mutation in the zebrafish myod gene delays and reduces early somitic and pectoral fin myogenesis, reduces miR-206 expression, and leads to a persistent reduction in somite size until at least the independent feeding stage. A mutation in myog, encoding a second MRF, has little obvious phenotype at early stages, but exacerbates the loss of somitic muscle caused by lack of Myod. Mutation of both myod and myf5 ablates all skeletal muscle. Haploinsufficiency of myod leads to reduced embryonic somite muscle bulk. Lack of Myod causes a severe reduction in cranial musculature, ablating most muscles including the protractor pectoralis, a putative cucullaris homologue. This phenotype is accompanied by a severe dysmorphology of the cartilaginous skeleton and failure of maturation of several cranial bones, including the opercle. As myod expression is restricted to myogenic cells, the data show that myogenesis is essential for proper skeletogenesis in the head.
Project description:All skeletal muscle progenitor cells in the body derive from the dermomyotome, the dorsal epithelial domain of developing somites. These multipotent stem cells express Pax3, and this expression is maintained in the myogenic lineage where Pax3 plays an important role. Identification of Pax3 targets is therefore important for understanding the mechanisms that underlie the onset of myogenesis. In a microarray screen of Pax3-GFP sorted cells, with analysis on Pax3 gain and loss of function genetic backgrounds, we identify Dmrt2, expressed in the dermomyotome, as a Pax3 target. In vitro gel shift analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation with in vivo extracts show that Pax3 binds to a conserved 286 bp sequence, situated at -18 kb from Dmrt2. This sequence directs reporter transgene expression to the somite, and this is severely affected when the Pax3 site is mutated in the context of the locus. In Dmrt2 mutant embryos, somite maturation is perturbed and the skeletal muscle of the myotome is abnormal. We now report that the onset of myogenesis is also affected. This depends on activation, in the epaxial dermomyotome, of the myogenic determination gene, Myf5, through its early epaxial enhancer. This sequence contains sites that bind Dmrt2, which belongs to the DM class of DNA-binding proteins. Mutation of these sites compromises activity of the enhancer in transgenic embryos where the reporter transgene is under the control of the Myf5 epaxial enhancer. Transactivation of this site by Dmrt2 is demonstrated in vitro, and conditional overexpression of Dmrt2 in Pax3 expressing cells in the somite confirms the role of this factor in the activation of Myf5. These results reveal a novel genetic network, comprising a Pax3/Dmrt2/Myf5 regulatory cascade that operates in stem cells of the epaxial dermomyotome to initiate skeletal muscle formation.
Project description:In most groups of electric fish, the current-producing cells of electric organs (EOs) derive from striated muscle fibers but retain some phenotypic characteristics of their precursor muscle cells. Given the role of the MyoD family of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) in the transcriptional activation of the muscle program in vertebrates, we examined their expression in the electrocytes of the gymnotiform Sternopygus macrurus. We estimated the number of MRF genes in the S. macrurus genome and our Southern blot analyses revealed a single MyoD, myogenin, myf5 and MRF4 gene. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that muscle and EO transcribe all MRF genes. With the exception of MyoD, the endogenous levels of myogenin, myf5 and MRF4 transcripts in electrocytes were greater than those detected in muscle fibers. These data indicate that MRF expression levels are not sufficient to predict the level to which the muscle program is manifested. Qualitative expression analysis of MRF co-regulators MEF2C, Id1 and Id2 also revealed these genes not to be unique to either muscle or EO, and detected similar expression patterns in the two tissues. Therefore, the partial muscle program of the EO is not associated with a partial expression of MRFs or with apparent distinct levels of some MRF co-factors. In addition, electrical inactivation by spinal cord transection (ST) resulted in the up-regulation of some muscle proteins in electrocytes without an accompanying increase in MRF transcript levels or notable changes in the co-factors MEF2C, Id1 and Id2. These findings suggest that the neural regulation of the skeletal muscle program via MRFs in S. macrurus might differ from that of their mammalian counterparts. Together, these data further our understanding of the molecular processes involved in the plasticity of the vertebrate skeletal muscle program that brings about the muscle-like phenotype of the non-contractile electrogenic cells in S. macrurus.
Project description:Differentiation often requires conversion of analogue signals to a stable binary output through positive feedback. Hedgehog (Hh) signalling promotes myogenesis in the vertebrate somite, in part by raising the activity of muscle regulatory factors (MRFs) of the Myod family above a threshold. Hh is known to enhance MRF expression. Here we show that Hh is also essential at a second step that increases Myod protein activity, permitting it to promote Myogenin expression. Hh acts by inducing expression of cdkn1c (p57(Kip2)) in slow muscle precursor cells, but neither Hh nor Cdkn1c is required for their cell cycle exit. Cdkn1c co-operates with Myod to drive differentiation of several early zebrafish muscle fibre types. Myod in turn up-regulates cdkn1c, thereby providing a positive feedback loop that switches myogenic cells to terminal differentiation.
Project description:Specification and differentiation of skeletal muscle cells are driven by the activity of genes encoding members of the myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs). In vertebrates, the MRF family includes MyoD, Myf5, myogenin, and MRF4. The MRFs are capable of converting a variety of nonmuscle cells into myoblasts and myotubes. To better understand their roles in fish muscle development, we isolated the MyoD gene from flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) and analyzed its structure and patterns of expression. Sequence analysis showed that flounder MyoD shared a structure similar to that of vertebrate MRFs with three exons and two introns, and its protein contained a highly conserved basic helix-loop-helix domain (bHLH). Comparison of sequences revealed that flounder MyoD was highly conserved with other fish MyoD genes. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis indicated that flounder MyoD, seabream (Sparus aurata) MyoD1, takifugu (Takifugu rubripes) MyoD, and tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) MyoD were more likely to be homologous genes. Flounder MyoD expression was first detected as two rows of presomitic cells in the segmental plate. From somitogenesis, MyoD transcripts were present in the adaxial cells that give rise to slow muscles and the lateral somitic cells that give rise to fast muscles. After 30 somites formed, MyoD expression decreased in the somites except the caudal somites, coincident with somite maturation. In the hatching stage, MyoD was expressed in other muscle cells and caudal somites. It was detected only in muscle in the growing fish.
Project description:Skeletal myogenesis is associated with the activation of four muscle regulatory factors (MRFs): Myf5, MyoD, Myogenin and MRF4. Here we report that p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase represses the transcriptional activity of MRF4 (involved in late stages of myogenesis), resulting in downregulation of specific muscle genes. MRF4 is phosphorylated in vitro and in vivo by p38 on two serines (Ser31 and Ser42) located in the N-terminal transactivation domain, resulting in reduced MRF4-mediated transcriptional activity. In contrast, nonphosphorylatable MRF4 mutants display increased transcriptional activity and are able to advance both myoblast fusion and differentiation. We also show that expression of desmin and alpha-actin, but not muscle creatin kinase, decreased at late stages of muscle differentiation, correlating with the induction of MRF4 and p38 activation. Accordingly, inhibition of p38 during late myogenesis results in the upregulation of both desmin and alpha-actin. We propose that repression of MRF4 activity by p38 phosphorylation may represent a new mechanism for the silencing of specific muscle genes at the terminal stages of muscle differentiation.
Project description:The MEF2 factors regulate transcription during cardiac and skeletal myogenesis. MEF2 factors establish skeletal muscle commitment by amplifying and synergizing with MyoD. While phosphorylation is known to regulate MEF2 function, lineage-specific regulation is unknown. Here, we show that phosphorylation of MEF2C on T(80) by skeletal myosin light chain kinase (skMLCK) enhances skeletal and not cardiac myogenesis. A phosphorylation-deficient MEF2C mutant (MEFT80A) enhanced cardiac, but not skeletal myogenesis in P19 stem cells. Further, MEFT80A was deficient in recruitment of p300 to skeletal but not cardiac muscle promoters. In gain-of-function studies, skMLCK upregulated myogenic regulatory factor (MRF) expression, leading to enhanced skeletal myogenesis in P19 cells and more efficient myogenic conversion. In loss-of-function studies, MLCK was essential for efficient MRF expression and subsequent myogenesis in embryonic stem (ES) and P19 cells as well as for proper activation of quiescent satellite cells. Thus, skMLCK regulates MRF expression by controlling the MEF2C-dependent recruitment of histone acetyltransferases to skeletal muscle promoters. This work identifies the first kinase that regulates MyoD and Myf5 expression in ES or satellite cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During development cell migration takes place prior to differentiation of many cell types. The chemokine receptor Cxcr4 and its ligand Sdf1 are implicated in migration of several cell lineages, including appendicular muscles. RESULTS: We dissected the role of sdf1-cxcr4 during skeletal myogenesis. We demonstrated that the receptor cxcr4a is expressed in the medial-anterior part of somites, suggesting that chemokine signaling plays a role in this region of the somite. Previous reports emphasized co-operation of Sdf1a and Cxcr4b. We found that during early myogenesis Sdf1a co-operates with the second Cxcr4 of zebrafish - Cxcr4a resulting in the commitment of myoblast to form fast muscle. Disrupting this chemokine signal caused a reduction in myoD and myf5 expression and fast fiber formation. In addition, we showed that a dimerization partner of MyoD and Myf5, E12, positively regulates transcription of cxcr4a and sdf1a in contrast to that of Sonic hedgehog, which inhibited these genes through induction of expression of id2. CONCLUSION: We revealed a regulatory feedback mechanism between cxcr4a-sdf1a and genes encoding myogenic regulatory factors, which is involved in differentiation of fast myofibers. This demonstrated a role of chemokine signaling during development of skeletal muscles.
Project description:In mammals, several genetic pathways have been characterized that govern engagement of multipotent embryonic progenitors into the myogenic program through the control of the key myogenic regulatory gene Myod. Here we demonstrate the involvement of Six homeoproteins. We first targeted into a Pax3 allele a sequence encoding a negative form of Six4 that binds DNA but cannot interact with essential Eya co-factors. The resulting embryos present hypoplasic skeletal muscles and impaired Myod activation in the trunk in the absence of Myf5/Mrf4. At the axial level, we further show that Myod is still expressed in compound Six1/Six4:Pax3 but not in Six1/Six4:Myf5 triple mutant embryos, demonstrating that Six1/4 participates in the Pax3-Myod genetic pathway. Myod expression and head myogenesis is preserved in Six1/Six4:Myf5 triple mutant embryos, illustrating that upstream regulators of Myod in different embryonic territories are distinct. We show that Myod regulatory regions are directly controlled by Six proteins and that, in the absence of Six1 and Six4, Six2 can compensate.