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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 28;286(4):2517-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.163709. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

MyoD directly up-regulates premyogenic mesoderm factors during induction of skeletal myogenesis in stem cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5, Canada.


Gain- and loss-of-function experiments have illustrated that the family of myogenic regulatory factors is necessary and sufficient for the formation of skeletal muscle. Furthermore, MyoD required cellular aggregation to induce myogenesis in P19 embryonal carcinoma stem cells. To determine the mechanism by which stem cells can be directed into skeletal muscle, a time course of P19 cell differentiation was examined in the presence and absence of exogenous MyoD. By quantitative PCR, the first MyoD up-regulated transcripts were the premyogenic mesoderm factors Meox1, Pax7, Six1, and Eya2 on day 4 of differentiation. Subsequently, the myoblast markers myogenin, MEF2C, and Myf5 were up-regulated, leading to skeletal myogenesis. These results were corroborated by Western blot analysis, showing up-regulation of Pax3, Six1, and MEF2C proteins, prior to myogenin protein expression. To determine at what stage a dominant-negative MyoD/EnR mutant could inhibit myogenesis, stable cell lines were created and examined. Interestingly, the premyogenic mesoderm factors, Meox1, Pax3/7, Six1, Eya2, and Foxc1, were down-regulated, and as expected, skeletal myogenesis was abolished. Finally, to identify direct targets of MyoD in this system, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments were performed. MyoD was observed associated with regulatory regions of Meox1, Pax3/7, Six1, Eya2, and myogenin genes. Taken together, MyoD directs stem cells into the skeletal muscle lineage by binding and activating the expression of premyogenic mesoderm genes, prior to activating myoblast genes.

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