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Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2012 Sep 10;2(2):53-63. Print 2012 Apr.

The development of the myotendinous junction. A review.

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Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, ENS de Lyon, UMR CNRS 5242, Université Lyon 1, France.


The myotendinous junction (MTJ) is a complex specialized region located at the muscle-tendon interface that represents the primary site of force transmission. Despite their different embryologic origins, muscle and tendon morphogenesis occurs in close spatial and temporal association. After muscle attachment, muscle and tendon constitute a dynamic and functional integrated unit that transduces muscle contraction force to the skeletal system. We review here the current understanding of MTJ formation describing changes during morphogenesis and focusing on the crosstalk between muscle and tendon cells that leads to the development of a functional MTJ. Molecules involved in the formation of the linkage, both at the tendon side and at the muscle side of the junction are described. Much of this knowledge comes from studies using different animal models such as mice, zebrafish and Drosophila where powerful methods for in vivo imaging and genetic manipulations can be used to enlighten this developmental process.


DGC; basement membrane; collagen; development; integrin; myotendinous junction


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