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Development. 2002 Jan;129(1):133-41.

myoblasts incompetent encodes a zinc finger transcription factor required to specify fusion-competent myoblasts in Drosophila.

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  • 1Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC and UAM, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


We report a new gene, myoblasts incompetent, essential for normal myogenesis and myoblast fusion in Drosophila. myoblasts incompetent encodes a putative zinc finger transcription factor related to vertebrate Gli proteins and to Drosophila Cubitus interruptus. myoblasts incompetent is expressed in immature somatic and visceral myoblasts. Expression is predominantly in fusion-competent myoblasts and a loss-of-function mutation in myoblasts incompetent leads to a failure in the normal differentiation of these cells and a complete lack of myoblast fusion. In the mutant embryos, founder myoblasts differentiate normally and form mononucleate muscles, but genes that are specifically expressed in fusion-competent cells are not activated and the normal downregulation of twist expression in these cells fails to occur. In addition, fusion-competent myoblasts fail to express proteins characteristic of the general pathway of myogenesis such as myosin and Dmef2. Thus myoblasts incompetent appears to function specifically in the general pathway of myogenesis to control the differentiation of fusion-competent myoblasts.

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