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Elife. 2018 May 29;7. pii: e34613. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34613.

Transcriptional profiling reveals extraordinary diversity among skeletal muscle tissues.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, United States.
Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, United States.
Department of Integrative, Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, United States.
Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States.
Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky School of Medicine, Lexington, United States.


Skeletal muscle comprises a family of diverse tissues with highly specialized functions. Many acquired diseases, including HIV and COPD, affect specific muscles while sparing others. Even monogenic muscular dystrophies selectively affect certain muscle groups. These observations suggest that factors intrinsic to muscle tissues influence their resistance to disease. Nevertheless, most studies have not addressed transcriptional diversity among skeletal muscles. Here we use RNAseq to profile mRNA expression in skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle tissues from mice and rats. Our data set, MuscleDB, reveals extensive transcriptional diversity, with greater than 50% of transcripts differentially expressed among skeletal muscle tissues. We detect mRNA expression of hundreds of putative myokines that may underlie the endocrine functions of skeletal muscle. We identify candidate genes that may drive tissue specialization, including Smarca4, Vegfa, and Myostatin. By demonstrating the intrinsic diversity of skeletal muscles, these data provide a resource for studying the mechanisms of tissue specialization.


RNAseq; Vegfa; cell biology; computational biology; gene expression; mouse; myokine; rat; skeletal muscle; systems biology; tissue engineering

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