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Cell. 2010 Feb 19;140(4):554-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.01.027.

Nfix regulates fetal-specific transcription in developing skeletal muscle.

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San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


Skeletal myogenesis, like hematopoiesis, occurs in successive developmental stages that involve different cell populations and expression of different genes. We show here that the transcription factor nuclear factor one X (Nfix), whose expression is activated by Pax7 in fetal muscle, in turn activates the transcription of fetal specific genes such as MCK and beta-enolase while repressing embryonic genes such as slow myosin. In the case of the MCK promoter, Nfix forms a complex with PKC theta that binds, phosphorylates, and activates MEF2A. Premature expression of Nfix activates fetal and suppresses embryonic genes in embryonic muscle, whereas muscle-specific ablation of Nfix prevents fetal and maintains embryonic gene expression in the fetus. Therefore, Nfix acts as a transcriptional switch from embryonic to fetal myogenesis.

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