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Dev Biol. 2007 Jul 15;307(2):421-33. Epub 2007 May 3.

Sequential expression and redundancy of Pitx2 and Pitx3 genes during muscle development.

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Laboratoire de génétique moléculaire, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), 110, avenue des Pins Ouest, Montréal, QC, Canada H2W 1R7.


The myogenic program is controlled by different groups of transcription factors acting during muscle development, including bHLH muscle regulatory factors (MRFs), the paired factors Pax3 and Pax7 and the homeobox factors Six1 and Six4. This program is critically dependent on MRFs that target downstream muscle-specific genes. We now report the expression of Pitx2 and Pitx3 transcription factors throughout muscle development. Pitx2 is first expressed in muscle progenitor cells of the dermomyotome and myotome. The onset of myoblast differentiation is concomitant with expression of Pitx3; its expression is maintained in all skeletal muscles while Pitx2 expression decreases thereafter. We have generated Pitx3 mutant mice and this deficiency does not significantly perturb muscle development but it is completely compensated by the maintenance of Pitx2 expression in all skeletal muscles. These experiments suggest that Pitx genes are important for myogenesis and that Pitx2 and Pitx3 may have partly redundant roles.

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