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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2005 Aug-Oct;16(4-5):596-611.

Signaling to the chromatin during skeletal myogenesis: novel targets for pharmacological modulation of gene expression.

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  • 1Laboratory of Gene Expression, Dulbecco Telethon Institute (DTI) at Fondazione A. Cesalpino, ICBTE, San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Cellular differentiation entails an extensive reprogramming of the genome toward the expression of discrete subsets of genes, which establish the tissue-specific phenotype. This program is achieved by epigenetic marks of the chromatin at particular loci, and is regulated by environmental cues, such as soluble factors and cell-to-cell interactions. How the intracellular cascades convert the myriad of external stimuli into the nuclear information necessary to reprogram the genome toward specific responses is a question of biological and medical interest. The elucidation of the signaling converting cues from outside the cells into chromatin modifications at individual promoters holds the promise to unveil the targets for selective pharmacological interventions to modulate gene expression for therapeutic purposes. Enhancing muscle regeneration and preventing muscle breakdown are important goals in the therapy of muscular diseases, cancer-associated cachexia and aging-associated sarcopenia. We will summarize the recent progress of our knowledge of the regulation of gene expression by intracellular cascades elicited by external cues during skeletal myogenesis. And will illustrate the potential importance of targeting the chromatin signaling in regenerative medicine--e.g. to boost muscle regeneration.

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