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Elife. 2018 May 30;7. pii: e34058. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34058.

A transcriptomics resource reveals a transcriptional transition during ordered sarcomere morphogenesis in flight muscle.

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Muscle Dynamics Group, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.
Biomedical Center, Physiological Chemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Martinsried, Germany.
Computational Biology Group, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.
Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IBDM, Marseille, France.
School of Life Science and Engineering, Foshan University, Guangdong, China.
Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM, TAGC, Marseille, France.
Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Imaging Facility, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.


Muscles organise pseudo-crystalline arrays of actin, myosin and titin filaments to build force-producing sarcomeres. To study sarcomerogenesis, we have generated a transcriptomics resource of developing Drosophila flight muscles and identified 40 distinct expression profile clusters. Strikingly, most sarcomeric components group in two clusters, which are strongly induced after all myofibrils have been assembled, indicating a transcriptional transition during myofibrillogenesis. Following myofibril assembly, many short sarcomeres are added to each myofibril. Subsequently, all sarcomeres mature, reaching 1.5 µm diameter and 3.2 µm length and acquiring stretch-sensitivity. The efficient induction of the transcriptional transition during myofibrillogenesis, including the transcriptional boost of sarcomeric components, requires in part the transcriptional regulator Spalt major. As a consequence of Spalt knock-down, sarcomere maturation is defective and fibers fail to gain stretch-sensitivity. Together, this defines an ordered sarcomere morphogenesis process under precise transcriptional control - a concept that may also apply to vertebrate muscle or heart development.


D. melanogaster; Sarcomere; biomechanics; cell biology; development; developmental biology; muscle; self organization; stem cells; transcriptomics

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