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Dev Biol. 2001 Jan 15;229(2):383-95.

Postnatal myosin heavy chain isoform expression in normal mice and mice null for IIb or IId myosin heavy chains.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.


The patterns of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform expression in the embryo and in the adult mouse are reasonably well characterized and quite distinct. However, little is known about the transition between these two states, which involves major decreases and increases in the expression of several MyHC genes. In the present study, the expression of seven sarcomeric MyHCs was analyzed in the hindlimb muscles of wild-type mice and in mice null for the MyHC IIb or IId/x genes at several time points from 1 day of postnatal life (dpn) to 20 dpn. In early postnatal life, the developmental isoforms (embryonic and perinatal) comprise >90% of the total MyHC expression, while three adult fast isoforms (IIa, IIb, and IId) comprise <1% of the total MyHC protein. However, between 5 and 20 dpn their expression increases to comprise >90% of the total MyHC. Expression of each of the three adult fast isoforms occurs in a spatially and temporally distinct manner. We also show that alpha MyHC, which is almost exclusively expressed in the heart, is expressed in scattered fibers in all hindlimb muscles during postnatal development. Surprisingly, the timing and localization of expression of the MyHC isoforms is unchanged in IIb and IId/x null mice, although the magnitude of expression is altered for some isoforms. Together these data provide a comprehensive overview of the postnatal expression pattern of the sarcomeric MyHC isoforms in the mouse hindlimb.

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