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FEBS Lett. 2001 Feb 16;490(3):171-8.

Regulation of MyoD function in the dividing myoblast.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.


Proliferating myoblasts express MyoD, yet no phenotypic markers are activated as long as mitogen levels are sufficient to keep the cells dividing. Depending upon mitogen levels, a decision is made in G1 that commits the myoblast to either continue to divide or to exit from the cell cycle and activate terminal differentiation. Ectopic expression of MyoD under the control of the RSV or CMV promoters causes 10T1/2 cells to rapidly exit the cell cycle and differentiate as single myocytes, even in growth medium, whereas expression of MyoD under the weaker SV40 promoter is compatible with proliferation. Co-expression of MyoD and cyclin D1, but not cyclins A, B, E or D3, blocks transactivation of a MyoD responsive reporter. Similarly, transfection of myoblasts with the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors p16 and p21 supports some muscle-specific gene expression even in growth medium. Taken altogether, these results suggest cell cycle progression negatively regulates myocyte differentiation, possibly through a mechanism involving the D1 responsive cdks. We review evidence coupling growth status, the cell cycle and myogenesis. We describe a novel mitogen-sensitive mechanism that involves the cyclin D1-dependent direct interaction between the G1 cdks and MyoD in the dividing myoblast, which regulates MyoD function in a mitogen-sensitive manner.

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