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EMBO J. 1990 Mar;9(3):821-31.

Myf-6, a new member of the human gene family of myogenic determination factors: evidence for a gene cluster on chromosome 12.

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Department of Toxicology, University of Hamburg, Medical School, FRG.


The Myf-6 gene, a novel member of the human gene family of muscle determination factors has been detected by its highly conserved sequence coding for a putative helix-loop-helix domain. This sequence motif is a common feature of all Myf factors and other regulatory proteins. The new Myf gene is located on human chromosome 12, approximately 6.5 Kb upstream of the Myf-5 locus in a closely linked cluster of myogenic determination genes. Myf-6 cDNAs were isolated from human and mouse skeletal muscle, the only tissue in which expression of the corresponding mRNA was observed. In contrast to human primary muscle cell cultures which express moderate levels of Myf-6 mRNA, most established rodent muscle cell lines completely lack this mRNA. Myogenic 10T1/2 cells, however, induced by the expression of either pEMSV-Myf-4 or pEMSV-Myf-5 activate their endogenous mouse Myf-6 gene. Constitutive expression of Myf-6 cDNA in C3H 10T1/2 fibroblasts establishes the muscle phenotype at a similar frequency to the previously characterized myogenic factors. Moreover, muscle-specific CAT reporter constructs containing either the human myosin light chain (MLC) enhancer or the promoter of the embryonic myosin light chain gene are activated in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts or in CV1 kidney cells by cotransfection of Myf-6 expression vehicles. This transcriptional activation occurs in the absence of any apparent conversion of the cellular phenotype of the recipient cells. Glutathione-S-transferase fusion proteins with Myf-3, Myf-4 or Myf-5 specifically bind to a MEF-like consensus sequence present in the human MLC enhancer and the MLC1 emb promoter. In contrast, the Myf-6 hybrid protein interacts weakly with the same sequences showing lower affinity and reduced specificity. Since co-expressed pEMSV-Myf-6, nevertheless, is able to activate transcription of the MLC-CAT reporter constructs in non-muscle tissue culture cells, the different DNA binding properties in vitro might suggest that transactivation of gene expression by Myf-6 involves distinct binding sites and/or additional protein factors.

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