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Epigenetics. 2013 Aug;8(8):778-84. doi: 10.4161/epi.25441. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

The role of MyoD1 and histone modifications in the activation of muscle enhancers.

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Department of Pathology and Cancer Institute; Smilow Research Center; New York University School of Medicine; New York, NY USA.


MyoD1 is a key regulator that orchestrates skeletal muscle differentiation through the regulation of gene expression. Although many studies have focused on its role in transcriptional control at gene promoters, less is known regarding the role of MyoD1 in the assembly of active enhancers. Here, we discuss novel data that point to the ability of MyoD1 to mediate the assembly of active enhancers that augment the transcription of genes essential for muscle development and lineage specification. Based on genome-wide studies of epigenetic marks that typify active enhancers, we recently identified the compendium of distal regulatory elements that dictate transcriptional programs during myogenesis. Superimposition of MyoD1 binding sites upon the locations of muscle enhancers revealed its unequivocal binding to a core region of nearly a third of condition-specific muscle enhancers. Further studies exploring deposition of enhancer-related epigenetic marks in myoblasts lacking MyoD1 demonstrate the dependence of muscle enhancer assembly on the presence of MyoD1. We propose a model wherein MyoD1 mediates recruitment of Set7, H3K4me1, H3K27ac, p300, and RNAP II to MyoD1-bound enhancers to establish condition-specific activation of muscle genes. Moreover, muscle enhancers are modulated through coordinated binding of transcription factors, including c-Jun, Jdp2, Meis, and Runx1, which are recruited to muscle enhancers in a MyoD1-dependent manner. Thus, MyoD1 and enhancer-associated transcription factors function coordinately to assemble and regulate enhancers, thereby augmenting expression of muscle-related genes.


ChIP-seq; MyoD1; differentiation; muscle enhancers; myogenesis; skeletal muscle; transcription; transcriptional enhancers

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