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Dev Biol. 2002 May 1;245(1):213-23.

Essential and redundant functions of the MyoD distal regulatory region revealed by targeted mutagenesis.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Transgenic analyses have defined two MyoD enhancers in mammals, the core enhancer and distal regulatory region (DRR); these enhancers exhibit complementary activities and together are sufficient to recapitulate MyoD expression in developing and mature skeletal muscle. DRR activity is restricted to differentiated muscle and persists postnatally, suggesting an important role in maintaining MyoD expression in myocytes and muscle fibers. Here, we use targeted mutagenesis in the mouse to define essential functions of the DRR in its normal chromosomal context. Surprisingly, deletion of the DRR resulted in reduced MyoD expression in all myogenic lineages at E10.5, at least 1 day prior to detection of DRR activity in limb buds and branchial arches of transgenic mice. At later embryonic and fetal stages, however, no defect in MyoD expression was observed, indicating that the DRR is dispensable for regulating MyoD during muscle differentiation. Expression analyses in wild-type and Myf-5 mutant embryos also indicate that the DRR is not an obligate target for Myf-5- and Pax-3-dependent regulation. In contrast to embryonic and fetal stages, deletion of the DRR resulted in a pronounced reduction in MyoD mRNA levels in adults, showing a functional requirement for DRR activity in mature muscle. These data reveal essential and redundant functions of the DRR and underscore the importance of loss-of-function enhancer analyses for understanding cis transcriptional circuitry.

(c)2002 Elsevier Science (USA).

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