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Exp Cell Res. 2010 Nov 1;316(18):3014-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.07.005. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Regulation of gene expression in vertebrate skeletal muscle.

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Section of Gene Function and Regulation, The Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, 237 Fulham Road, London, England.


During embryonic development the integration of numerous synergistic signalling pathways turns a single cell into a multicellular organism with specialized cell types and highly structured, organized tissues. To achieve this, cells must grow, proliferate, differentiate and die according to their spatiotemporal position. Unravelling the mechanisms by which a cell adopts the correct fate in response to its local environment remains one of the fundamental goals of biological research. In vertebrates skeletal myogenesis is coordinated by the activation of the myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) in response to signals that are interpreted by their associated regulatory elements in different precursor cells during development. The MRFs trigger a cascade of transcription factors and downstream structural genes, ultimately resulting in the generation of one of the fundamental histotypes. In this review we discuss the regulation of the different MRFs in relation to their position in the myogenic cascade, the changes in the general transcriptional machinery during muscle differentiation and the emerging importance of miRNA regulation in skeletal myogenesis.

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