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Dev Dyn. 2006 Nov;235(11):2930-9.

Pitx2c overexpression promotes cell proliferation and arrests differentiation in myoblasts.

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Department of Experimental Biology, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain.


Pitx2 is a paired-related homeobox gene that has been shown to play a central role during development. In the mouse, there are three isoforms, Pitx2a, b, and c, which differ only in their amino terminal regions. Pitx2 is expressed in myotomes, myoblasts, and myofibers and may be involved in muscle patterning. However, the mechanism by which Pitx2 acts in muscle cell lineages as well as the distinct functions of the individual isoforms have not been investigated. In this study, we used Sol8 myoblasts to investigate the function of Pitx2 in skeletal myogenesis. We found that Pitx2c is the main Pitx2 isoform present in Sol8 myoblasts. Overexpression of Pitx2c in Sol8 myoblasts inhibited myocyte differentiation and myotube formation. Furthermore, Sol8 cells overexpressing Pitx2c maintained high proliferative capacity and a significant up-regulation of the cell cycle genes cyclin D1, cyclin D2, and c-myc. Gene expression analysis for Pax3 and the s MyoD and myogenin showed that Pitx2c-overexpression caused Sol8 cells to remain as myoblasts, in an undifferentiated myogenic state. Furthermore, down-regulation of the muscle-specific genes sTnI and MyHC3 demonstrated that Sol8-overexpressing Pitx2c myoblasts failed to reach terminal differentiation. This study sheds light on previously unknown functions of the Pitx2c isoform in balancing proliferation vs. differentiation in a myogenic cell line.

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