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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 21;108(25):10196-201. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107413108. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Concerted regulation of myofiber-specific gene expression and muscle performance by the transcriptional repressor Sox6.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


In response to physiological stimuli, skeletal muscle alters its myofiber composition to significantly affect muscle performance and metabolism. This process requires concerted regulation of myofiber-specific isoforms of sarcomeric and calcium regulatory proteins that couple action potentials to the generation of contractile force. Here, we identify Sox6 as a fast myofiber-enriched repressor of slow muscle gene expression in vivo. Mice lacking Sox6 specifically in skeletal muscle have an increased number of slow myofibers, elevated mitochondrial activity, and exhibit down-regulation of the fast myofiber gene program, resulting in enhanced muscular endurance. In addition, microarray profiling of Sox6 knockout muscle revealed extensive muscle fiber-type remodeling, and identified numerous genes that display distinctive fiber-type enrichment. Sox6 directly represses the transcription of slow myofiber-enriched genes by binding to conserved cis-regulatory elements. These results identify Sox6 as a robust regulator of muscle contractile phenotype and metabolism, and elucidate a mechanism by which functionally related muscle fiber-type specific gene isoforms are collectively controlled.

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