We show that expression of p57Kip2, a potent tight-binding inhibitor of several G1 cyclin–cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) complexes, increases markedly during C2C12 myoblast differentiation. We examined the effect of p57Kip2 on the activity of the transcription factor MyoD. In transient transfection assays, transcriptional transactivation of the mouse muscle creatine kinase promoter by MyoD was enhanced by the Cdk inhibitors. In addition, p57Kip2, p21Cip1, and p27Kip1 but not p16Ink4a induced an increased level of MyoD protein, and we show that MyoD, an unstable nuclear protein, was stabilized by p57Kip2. Forced expression of p57Kip2 correlated with hypophosphorylation of MyoD in C2C12 myoblasts. A dominant-negative Cdk2 mutant arrested cells at the G1 phase transition and induced hypophosphorylation of MyoD. Furthermore, phosphorylation of MyoD by purified cyclin E-Cdk2 complexes was inhibited by p57Kip2. In addition, the NH2 domain of p57Kip2 necessary for inhibition of cyclin E-Cdk2 activity was sufficient to inhibit MyoD phosphorylation and to stabilize it, leading to its accumulation in proliferative myoblasts. Taken together, our data suggest that repression of cyclin E-Cdk2-mediated phosphorylation of MyoD by p57Kip2 could play an important role in the accumulation of MyoD at the onset of myoblast differentiation.
Quiescent satellite cells are myogenic progenitors that enable regeneration of skeletal muscle. One of the early events of satellite cell activation following myotrauma is the induction of the myogenic regulatory factor MyoD, which eventually induces terminal differentiation and muscle function gene expression. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the mechanism by which MyoD is induced during activation of satellite cells in mouse muscle undergoing regeneration. We show that Six1, a transcription factor essential for embryonic myogenesis, also regulates MyoD expression in muscle progenitor cells. Six1 knock-down by RNA interference leads to decreased expression of MyoD in myoblasts. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays reveal that Six1 binds the Core Enhancer Region of MyoD. Further, transcriptional reporter assays demonstrate that Core Enhancer Region reporter gene activity in myoblasts and in regenerating muscle depends on the expression of Six1 and on Six1 binding sites. Finally, we provide evidence indicating that Six1 is required for the proper chromatin structure at the Core Enhancer Region, as well as for MyoD binding at its own enhancer. Together, our results reveal that MyoD expression in satellite cells depends on Six1, supporting the idea that Six1 plays an important role in adult myogenesis, in addition to its role in embryonic muscle formation.
Background: Hedgehog (Hh) signaling regulates skeletal myogenesis; however, the molecular mechanisms involved are not fully understood.
Results: Gli2, a transactivator of Hh signaling, associates with MyoD gene elements, regulating MyoD expression, and binds to MyoD protein, regulating its ability to induce myogenesis.
Conclusion: Hh signaling is linked to MyoD gene expression and MyoD protein function.
Significance: Novel mechanistic insight is gained into the Hh-regulated myogenesis.
The inhibition of MyoD expression is important for obtaining muscle progenitors that can replenish the satellite cell niche during muscle repair. Progenitors could be derived from either embryonic stem cells or satellite cells. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is important for MyoD expression during embryogenesis and adult muscle regeneration. To date, the mechanistic understanding of MyoD regulation by Hh signaling is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the Hh effector, Gli2, regulates MyoD expression and associates with MyoD gene elements. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments in pluripotent P19 cells show that Gli2 activity is sufficient and required for efficient MyoD expression during skeletal myogenesis. Inhibition of Hh signaling reduces MyoD expression during satellite cell activation in vitro. In addition to regulating MyoD expression, Hh signaling regulates MyoD transcriptional activity, and MyoD activates Hh signaling in myogenic conversion assays. Finally, Gli2, MyoD, and MEF2C form a protein complex, which enhances MyoD activity on skeletal muscle-related promoters. We therefore link Hh signaling to the function and expression of MyoD protein during myogenesis in stem cells.
Development; Embryonic Stem Cell; Gene Expression; Myogenesis; Skeletal Muscle; Transcription; Gli; Hedgehog Signaling; MEF2; MyoD
The members of the MyoD family of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors are critical regulators of skeletal muscle differentiation that function as heterodimers with ubiquitously expressed E-protein bHLH transcription factors. These heterodimers must compete successfully with homodimers of E12 and other E-proteins to enable myogenesis. Here, we show that E12 mutants resistant to Ca2+-loaded calmodulin (CaM) inhibit MyoD-initiated myogenic conversion of transfected fibroblasts. Ca2+ channel blockers reduce, and Ca2+ stimulation increases, transcription by coexpressed MyoD and wild-type E12 but not CaM-resistant mutant E12. Furthermore, CaM-resistant E12 gives lower MyoD binding and higher E12 binding to a MyoD-responsive promoter in vivo and cannot rescue myogenic differentiation that has been inhibited by siRNA against E12 and E47. Our data support the concept that Ca2+-loaded CaM enables myogenesis by inhibiting DNA binding of E-protein homodimers, thereby promoting occupancy of myogenic bHLH protein/E-protein heterodimers on promoters of myogenic target genes.
The myogenic basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins regulate both skeletal muscle specification and differentiation: MyoD and Myf5 establish the muscle lineage, whereas myogenin mediates differentiation. Previously, we demonstrated that MyoD was more efficient than myogenin at initiating the expression of skeletal muscle genes, and in this study we present the molecular basis for this difference. A conserved amphipathic alpha-helix in the carboxy terminus of the myogenic bHLH proteins has distinct activities in MyoD and myogenin: the MyoD helix facilitates the initiation of endogenous gene expression, whereas the myogenin helix functions as a general transcriptional activation domain. Thus, the alternate use of a similar motif for gene initiation and activation provides a molecular basis for the distinction between specification and differentiation within the myogenic bHLH gene family.
MyoD is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor involved in the activation of genes encoding skeletal muscle-specific proteins. Independent of its ability to transactivate muscle-specific genes, MyoD can also act as a cell cycle inhibitor. MyoD activity is regulated by transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms. While MyoD can be found phosphorylated, the functional significance of this posttranslation modification has not been established. MyoD contains several consensus cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation sites. In these studies, we examined whether a link could be established between MyoD activity and phosphorylation at putative CDK sites. Site-directed mutagenesis of potential CDK phosphorylation sites in MyoD revealed that S200 is required for MyoD hyperphosphorylation as well as the normally short half-life of the MyoD protein. Additionally, we determined that turnover of the MyoD protein requires the proteasome and Cdc34 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme activity. Results of these studies demonstrate that hyperphosphorylated MyoD is targeted for rapid degradation by the ubiquitin pathway. The targeted degradation of MyoD following CDK phosphorylation identifies a mechanism through which MyoD activity can be regulated coordinately with the cell cycle machinery (CDK2 and CDK4) and/or coordinately with the cellular transcriptional machinery (CDK7, CDK8, and CDK9).
Recent studies have demonstrated that MyoD initiates a feed-forward regulation of skeletal muscle gene expression, predicting that MyoD binds directly to many genes expressed during differentiation. We have used chromatin immunoprecipitation and high throughput sequencing to identify genome-wide binding of MyoD in several skeletal muscle cell types. As anticipated, MyoD preferentially binds to a VCASCTG sequence that resembles the in vitro selected site for a MyoD:E-protein heterodimer, and MyoD binding increases during differentiation at many of the regulatory regions of genes expressed in skeletal muscle. Unanticipated findings were that MyoD was constitutively bound to thousands of additional sites in both myoblasts and myotubes, and that the genome-wide binding of MyoD was associated with regional histone acetylation. Therefore, in addition to regulating muscle gene expression, MyoD binds genome-wide and has the ability to broadly alter the epigenome in myoblasts and myotubes.
Sodium butyrate reversibly inhibits muscle differentiation and blocks the expression of many muscle-specific genes in both proliferating myoblasts and differentiated myotubes. We investigated the role of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) myogenic determinator proteins MyoD and myogenin in this inhibition. Our data suggest that both MyoD and myogenin are not able to function as transcriptional activators in the presence of butyrate, although both apparently retain the ability to bind DNA. Transcription of MyoD itself is extinguished in butyrate-treated myoblasts and myotubes, an effect that may be due to the inability of MyoD to autoactivate its own transcription. We present evidence that the HLH region of MyoD is essential for butyrate inhibition of MyoD. In contrast to MyoD and myogenin, butyrate does not inhibit the ubiquitous basic HLH protein E2-5 from functioning as a transcriptional activator.
The myogenic differentiation 1 (MyoD) gene is a master regulator of myogenesis. We previously reported that the expression of MyoD mRNA oscillates over 24 h in skeletal muscle and that the circadian clock transcription factors, BMAL1 (brain and muscle ARNT-like 1) and CLOCK (circadian locomotor output cycles kaput), were bound to the core enhancer (CE) of the MyoD gene in vivo. In this study, we provide in vivo and in vitro evidence that the CE is necessary for circadian expression of MyoD in adult muscle. Gel shift assays identified a conserved non-canonical E-box within the CE that is bound by CLOCK and BMAL1. Functional analysis revealed that this E-box was required for full activation by BMAL1/CLOCK and for in vitro circadian oscillation. Expression profiling of muscle of CEloxP/loxP mice found approximately 1300 genes mis-expressed relative to wild-type. Based on the informatics results, we analyzed the respiratory function of mitochondria isolated from wild-type and CEloxP/loxP mice. These assays determined that State 5 respiration was significantly reduced in CEloxP/loxP muscle. The results of this work identify a novel element in the MyoD enhancer that confers circadian regulation to MyoD in skeletal muscle and suggest that loss of circadian regulation leads to changes in myogenic expression and downstream mitochondrial function.
In vertebrate development, a prominent feature of several cell lineages is the coupling of cell cycle regulation with terminal differentiation. We have investigated the basis of this relationship in the skeletal muscle lineage by studying the effects of the proliferation-associated regulator, c-myc, on the differentiation of MyoD-initiated myoblasts. Transient cotransfection assays in NIH 3T3 cells using MyoD and c-myc expression vectors demonstrated c-myc suppression of MyoD-initiated differentiation. A stable cell system was also developed in which MyoD expression was constitutive, while myc levels could be elevated conditionally. Induction of this conditional c-myc suppressed myogenesis effectively, even in the presence of MyoD. c-myc suppression also prevented up-regulation of a relative of MyoD, myogenin, which is normally expressed at the onset of differentiation in all muscle cell lines examined and may be essential for differentiation. Additional experiments tested whether failure to differentiate in the presence of myc could be overcome by providing myogenin ectopically. Cotransfection of c-myc with myogenin, MyoD, or a mixture of myogenin and MyoD showed that neither myogenin alone nor myogenin plus MyoD together could bypass the c-myc block. The effects of c-myc were further dissected by showing that c-myc can inhibit differentiation independently of Id, a negative regulator of muscle differentiation. These results lead us to propose that c-myc and Id constitute independent negative regulators of muscle differentiation, while myogenin and any of the other three related myogenic factors (MyoD, Myf-5, and MRF4/herculin/Myf-6) act as positive regulators.
In vertebrates, the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) protein Twist may be involved in the negative regulation of cellular determination and in the differentiation of several lineages, including myogenesis, osteogenesis, and neurogenesis. Although it has been shown that mouse twist (M-Twist) (i) sequesters E proteins, thus preventing formation of myogenic E protein-MyoD complexes and (ii) inhibits the MEF2 transcription factor, a cofactor of myogenic bHLH proteins, overexpression of E proteins and MEF2 failed to rescue the inhibitory effects of M-Twist on MyoD. We report here that M-Twist physically interacts with the myogenic bHLH proteins in vitro and in vivo and that this interaction is required for the inhibition of MyoD by M-Twist. In contrast to the conventional HLH-HLH domain interaction formed in the MyoD/E12 heterodimer, this novel type of interaction uses the basic domains of the two proteins. While the MyoD HLH domain without the basic domain failed to interact with M-Twist, a MyoD peptide containing only the basic and helix 1 regions was sufficient to interact with M-Twist, suggesting that the basic domain contacts M-Twist. The replacement of three arginine residues by alanines in the M-Twist basic domain was sufficient to abolish both the binding and inhibition of MyoD by M-Twist, while the domain retained other M-Twist functions such as heterodimerization with an E protein and inhibition of MEF2 transactivation. These findings demonstrate that M-Twist interacts with MyoD through the basic domains, thereby inhibiting MyoD.
mTOR induces MyoD-dependent miR-1 expression, leading to follistatin-mediated myocyte fusion.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as a key regulator of skeletal muscle development by governing distinct stages of myogenesis, but the molecular pathways downstream of mTOR are not fully understood. In this study, we report that expression of the muscle-specific micro-RNA (miRNA) miR-1 is regulated by mTOR both in differentiating myoblasts and in mouse regenerating skeletal muscle. We have found that mTOR controls MyoD-dependent transcription of miR-1 through its upstream enhancer, most likely by regulating MyoD protein stability. Moreover, a functional pathway downstream of mTOR and miR-1 is delineated, in which miR-1 suppression of histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) results in production of follistatin and subsequent myocyte fusion. Collective evidence strongly suggests that follistatin is the long-sought mTOR-regulated fusion factor. In summary, our findings unravel for the first time a link between mTOR and miRNA biogenesis and identify an mTOR–miR-1–HDAC4–follistatin pathway that regulates myocyte fusion during myoblast differentiation in vitro and skeletal muscle regeneration in vivo.
A major control point for skeletal myogenesis revolves around the muscle basic helix-loop-helix gene family that includes MyoD, Myf-5, myogenin, and MRF4. Myogenin and MRF4 are thought to be essential to terminal differentiation events, whereas MyoD and Myf-5 are critical to establishing the myogenic cell lineage and producing committed, undifferentiated myogenic stem cells (myoblasts). Although mouse genetic studies have revealed the importance of MyoD and Myf-5 for myoblast development, the genetic targets of MyoD and Myf-5 activity in undifferentiated myoblasts remain unknown. In this study, we investigated the function of MyoD as a transcriptional activator in undifferentiated myoblasts. By using conditional expression of MyoD, in conjunction with suppression subtractive hybridizations, we show that the Id3 and NP1 (neuronal pentraxin 1) genes become transcriptionally active following MyoD induction in undifferentiated myoblasts. Activation of Id3 and NP1 represents a stable, heritable event that does not rely on continued MyoD activity and is not subject to negative regulation by an activated H-Ras G12V protein. These results are the first to demonstrate that MyoD functions as a transcriptional activator in myogenic stem cells and that this key myogenic regulatory factor exhibits different gene target specificities, depending upon the cellular environment.
The muscle regulators MyoD and Myf-5 control cell cycle withdrawal and induction of differentiation in skeletal muscle cells. By immunofluorescence analysis, we show that MyoD and Myf-5 expression patterns become mutually exclusive when C2 cells are induced to differentiate with Myf-5 staining present in cells which fail to differentiate. Isolation of these undifferentiated cells reveals that upon serum stimulation they reenter the cell cycle, express MyoD and downregulate Myf-5. Similar regulations of MyoD and Myf-5 were observed using cultured primary myoblasts derived from satellite cells. To further analyze these regulations of MyoD and Myf-5 expression, we synchronized proliferating myoblasts. Analysis of MyoD and Myf-5 expression during cell cycle progression revealed distinct and contrasting profiles of expression. MyoD is absent in G0, peaks in mid-G1, falls to its minimum level at G1/S and reaugments from S to M. In contrast, Myf-5 protein is high in G0, decreases during G1 and reappears at the end of G1 to remain stable until mitosis. These data demonstrate that the two myogenic factors MyoD and Myf-5 undergo specific and distinct cell cycle–dependent regulation, thus establishing a correlation between the cell cycle–specific ratios of MyoD and Myf-5 and the capacity of cells to differentiate: (a) in G1, when cells express high levels of MyoD and enter differentiation; (b) in G0, when cells express high levels of Myf-5 and fail to differentiate.
cell cycle; MyoD; Myf-5; muscle; differentiation
The activities of myogenic basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) factors are regulated by a number of different positive and negative signals. Extensive information has been published about the molecular mechanisms that interfere with the process of myogenic differentiation, but little is known about the positive signals. We previously showed that overexpression of rat Mos in C2C12 myoblasts increased the expression of myogenic markers whereas repression of Mos products by antisense RNAs inhibited myogenic differentiation. In the present work, our results show that the rat mos proto-oncogene activates transcriptional activity of MyoD protein. In transient transfection assays, Mos promotes transcriptional transactivation by MyoD of the muscle creatine kinase enhancer and/or a reporter gene linked to MyoD-DNA binding sites. Physical interaction between Mos and MyoD, but not with E12, is demonstrated in vivo by using the two-hybrid approach with C3H10T1/2 cells and in vitro by using the glutathione S-transferase (GST) pull-down assays. Unphosphorylated MyoD from myogenic cell lysates and/or bacterially expressed MyoD physically interacts with Mos. This interaction occurs via the helix 2 region of MyoD and a highly conserved region in Mos proteins with 40% similarity to the helix 2 domain of the E-protein class of bHLH factors. Phosphorylation of MyoD by activated GST-Mos protein inhibits the DNA-binding activity of MyoD homodimers and promotes MyoD-E12 heterodimer formation. These data support a novel function for Mos as a mediator (coregulator) of muscle-specific gene(s) expression.
Skeletal muscle development is orchestrated by the myogenic regulatory factor MyoD, whose activity is blocked in myoblasts by proteins preventing its nuclear translocation and/or binding to G/C-centered E-boxes in target genes. Recent evidence indicates that muscle gene expression is also regulated at the cis level by differential affinity for DNA between MyoD and other E-box binding proteins during myogenesis. MyoD binds to G/C-centered E-boxes, enriched in muscle differentiation genes, in myotubes but not in myoblasts. Here, we used cell-based and in vivo
Drosophila, Xenopus laevis, and mouse models to show that ZEB1, a G/C-centered E-box binding transcriptional repressor, imposes a temporary stage-dependent inhibition of muscle gene expression and differentiation via CtBP-mediated transcriptional repression. We found that, contrary to MyoD, ZEB1 binds to G/C-centered E-boxes in muscle differentiation genes at the myoblast stage but not in myotubes. Its knockdown results in precocious expression of muscle differentiation genes and acceleration of myotube formation. Inhibition of muscle genes by ZEB1 occurs via transcriptional repression and involves recruitment of the CtBP corepressor. Lastly, we show that the pattern of gene expression associated with muscle differentiation is accelerated in ZEB1−/− mouse embryos. These results set ZEB1 as an important regulator of the temporal pattern of gene expression controlling muscle differentiation.
Ubiquitin ligase Atrogin1/Muscle Atrophy F-box (MAFbx) up-regulation is required for skeletal muscle atrophy but substrates and function during the atrophic process are poorly known. The transcription factor MyoD controls myogenic stem cell function and differentiation, and seems necessary to maintain the differentiated phenotype of adult fast skeletal muscle fibres. We previously showed that MAFbx mediates MyoD proteolysis in vitro. Here we present evidence that MAFbx targets MyoD for degradation in several models of skeletal muscle atrophy. In cultured myotubes undergoing atrophy, MAFbx expression increases, leading to a cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling of MAFbx and a selective suppression of MyoD. Conversely, transfection of myotubes with sh-RNA-mediated MAFbx gene silencing (shRNAi) inhibited MyoD proteolysis linked to atrophy. Furthermore, overexpression of a mutant MyoDK133R lacking MAFbx-mediated ubiquitination prevents atrophy of mouse primary myotubes and skeletal muscle fibres in vivo. Regarding the complex role of MyoD in adult skeletal muscle plasticity and homeostasis, its rapid suppression by MAFbx seems to be a major event leading to skeletal muscle wasting. Our results point out MyoD as the second MAFbx skeletal muscle target by which powerful therapies could be developed.
In skeletal muscle cells, the PC4 (Tis7/Ifrd1) protein is known to function as a coactivator of MyoD by promoting the transcriptional activity of myocyte enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C). In this study, we show that up-regulation of PC4 in vivo in adult muscle significantly potentiates injury-induced regeneration by enhancing myogenesis. Conversely, we observe that PC4 silencing in myoblasts causes delayed exit from the cell cycle, accompanied by delayed differentiation, and we show that such an effect is MyoD-dependent. We provide evidence revealing a novel mechanism underlying the promyogenic actions of PC4, by which PC4 functions as a negative regulator of NF-κB, known to inhibit MyoD expression post-transcriptionally. In fact, up-regulation of PC4 in primary myoblasts induces the deacetylation, and hence the inactivation and nuclear export of NF-κB p65, in concomitance with induction of MyoD expression. On the contrary, PC4 silencing in myoblasts induces the acetylation and nuclear import of p65, in parallel with a decrease of MyoD levels. We also observe that PC4 potentiates the inhibition of NF-κB transcriptional activity mediated by histone deacetylases and that PC4 is able to form trimolecular complexes with p65 and HDAC3. This suggests that PC4 stimulates deacetylation of p65 by favoring the recruitment of HDAC3 to p65. As a whole, these results indicate that PC4 plays a role in muscle differentiation by controlling the MyoD pathway through multiple mechanisms, and as such, it positively regulates regenerative myogenesis.
NF-kappa B; RNA Silencing; Skeletal Muscle; Transgenic; Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF); MyoD; Skeletal Muscle Regeneration
Satellite cells are skeletal muscle stem cells that provide myogenic progeny for myofiber growth and repair. Temporal expression of muscle regulatory factors (MRFs) and the paired box transcription factor Pax7 defines characteristic phases of proliferation (Pax7+/MyoD+/myogenin−) and differentiation (Pax7−/MyoD+/myogenin+) during myogenesis of satellite cells. Here, using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) labeling and triple immunodetection, we analyzed expression patterns of Pax7 and the MRFs MyoD, Myf5, or myogenin within S phase myoblasts prepared from posthatch chicken muscle. Essentially all BrdU incorporation was restricted to Pax7+ cells, of which the majority also expressed MyoD. The presence of a minor BrdU+/Pax7+/myogenin+ population in proliferation stage cultures suggests that myogenin upregulation is alone insufficient for terminal differentiation. Myf5 was detected strictly within Pax7+ cells and decreased during S phase while MyoD presence persisted in cycling cells. This study provides novel data in support of a unique role for Myf5 during posthatch myogenesis.
Mice lacking MyoD exhibit delayed skeletal muscle regeneration and markedly enhanced numbers of satellite cells. Myoblasts isolated from MyoD-/- myoblasts proliferate more rapidly than wild type myoblasts, display a dramatic delay in differentiation, and continue to incorporate BrdU after serum withdrawal.
Primary myoblasts isolated from wild type and MyoD-/- mutant mice were examined by microarray analysis and further characterized by cell and molecular experiments in cell culture.
We found that NF-κB, a key regulator of cell-cycle withdrawal and differentiation, aberrantly maintains nuclear localization and transcriptional activity in MyoD-/- myoblasts. As a result, expression of cyclin D is maintained during serum withdrawal, inhibiting expression of muscle-specific genes and progression through the differentiation program. Sustained nuclear localization of cyclin E, and a concomitant increase in cdk2 activity maintains S-phase entry in MyoD-/- myoblasts even in the absence of mitogens. Importantly, this deficit was rescued by forced expression of IκBαSR, a non-degradable mutant of IκBα, indicating that inhibition of NF-κB is sufficient to induce terminal myogenic differentiation in the absence of MyoD.
MyoD-induced cytoplasmic relocalization of NF-κB is an essential step in linking cell-cycle withdrawal to the terminal differentiation of skeletal myoblasts. These results provide important insight into the unique functions of MyoD in regulating the switch from progenitor proliferation to terminal differentiation.
Skeletal muscle; Myoblasts; MyoD; NF-κB; IKK; IκB; Differentiation; Myogenesis
Terminal differentiation of distinct cell types requires the transcriptional activation of differentiation-specific genes and the suppression of genes associated with the precursor cell. For example, the expression of utrophin (Utrn) is suppressed during skeletal muscle differentiation, and it is replaced at the sarcolemma by the related dystrophin protein. The MyoD transcription factor directly activates the expression of a large number of skeletal muscle genes, but also suppresses the expression of many genes. To characterize a mechanism of MyoD-mediated suppression of gene expression, we investigated two genes that are suppressed in fibroblasts converted to skeletal muscle by MyoD, follistatin-like 1 (Fstl1) and Utrn. MyoD directly activates the expression of a muscle-specific microRNA (miRNA), miR-206, which targets sequences in the Fstl1 and Utrn RNA, and these sequences are sufficient to suppress gene expression in the presence of miR-206. These findings demonstrate that MyoD, in addition to activating muscle-specific genes, induces miRNAs that repress gene expression during skeletal muscle differentiation.
MyoD is a master regulator of the skeletal muscle gene expression program. ChIP-Seq analysis has recently revealed that MyoD binds to a large number of genomic loci in differentiating myoblasts, yet only activates transcription at a subset of these genes. Here we discuss recent data suggesting that the ability of MyoD to mediate gene expression is regulated through the function of Polycomb and Trithorax Group proteins. Based on studies of the muscle-specific myog gene, we propose a model where the transcriptional activators Mef2d and Six4 mediate recruitment of Trithorax Group proteins Ash2L/MLL2 and UTX to MyoD-bound promoters to overcome the Polycomb-mediated repression of muscle genes. Modulation of the interaction between Ash2L/MLL2 and Mef2d by the p38α MAPK signaling pathway in turns provides fine-tuning of the muscle-specific gene expression program. Thus Mef2d, Six4 and p38α MAPK function coordinately as regulators of a master regulator to mediate expression of MyoD target genes.
chromatin; transcription; muscle; MyoD; p38 MAPK; Mef2; Six4; gene expression
Purpose. Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is an embryonal tumor thought to arise from skeletal muscle cells that fail to
differentiate terminally. The majority of RMSs express MyoD, a protein essential to the differentiation of skeletal muscle.
It was recently shown that during myogenesis, MyoD activates the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor
(CDKi), p21, which itself plays a critical role in normal muscle development. To investigate the integrity of the MyoD/p21
pathway in RMS, we analyzed p21 and its relationship to MyoD expression in RMS.
Methods. A panel of RMS samples was assembled from primary biopsies and from cell lines. Integrity of p21 was analyzed
by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and sequencing. Expression of p21 and MyoD was determined by
Northern blot analysis, and the ability of exogenous p21 to arrest the cell cycle of RMS cell line was determined by
Results. Our analysis indicates that although p21 is wild type in RMS, there is an inverse correlation between the levels
of p21 and MyoD in these tumors. Tumors that express significant amounts of MyoD fail to express p21. This does not
appear to be the result of mutations within the potential CACGTG sites present in the p21 promoter region or in the
coding region of p21. An additional group of RMSs express very high levels of p21 but express little, if any, MyoD.
Furthermore, RD, a RMS cell line which expresses high levels of endogenous p21, undergoes withdrawal from the cell
cycle following forced expression of p21, suggesting that the pathway which would lead to G1
arrest from endogenous p21 activity is defective.
Discussion. These data suggest that the interaction between p21 and MyoD is defective in RMS although the precise
nature of the defect remains to be elucidated.
Angiogenesis is largely controlled by hypoxia-driven transcriptional up-regulation and secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its binding to the endothelial cell tyrosine receptor kinases, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2. Recent expression analysis suggests that VEGF is expressed in a cell-specific manner in normoxic adult tissue; however, the transcriptional regulation and role of VEGF in these tissues remains fundamentally unknown. In this report we demonstrate that VEGF is coordinately up-regulated during terminal skeletal muscle differentiation. We reveal that this regulation is mediated in part by MyoD homo- and hetero-dimeric transcriptional mechanisms. Serial deletions of the VEGF promoter elucidated a region containing three tandem CANNTG consensus MyoD sites serving as essential sites of direct interaction for MyoD-mediated up-regulation of VEGF transcription. VEGF-null embryonic stem (ES) cells exhibited reduced myogenic differentiation compared with wild-type ES cells, suggesting that VEGF may serve a role in skeletal muscle differentiation. We demonstrate that VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 are expressed at low levels in myogenic precursor cells and are robustly activated upon VEGF stimulation and that their expression is coordinately regulated during skeletal muscle differentiation. VEGF stimulation of differentiating C2C12 cells promoted myotube hypertrophy and increased myogenic differentiation, whereas addition of sFlt1, a VEGF inhibitor, resulted in myotube hypotrophy and inhibited myogenic differentiation. We further provide evidence indicating VEGF-mediated myogenic marker expression, mitogenic activity, migration, and prosurvival functions may contribute to increased myogenesis. These data suggest a novel mechanism whereby VEGF is coordinately regulated as part of the myogenic differentiation program and serves an autocrine function regulating skeletal myogenesis.
Previous studies have indicated that myoblasts can differentiate and repair muscle injury after an ischemic insult. However, it is unclear how hypoxia or glucose deprivation in the ischemic microenvironment affects myoblast differentiation. We have found that myogenesis can adapt to hypoxic conditions. This adaptive mechanism is accompanied by initial inhibition of the myoD, E2A, and myogenin genes followed by resumption of their expression in an oxygen-dependent manner. The regulation of myoD transcription by hypoxia is correlated with transient deacetylation of histones associated with the myoD promoter. It is noteworthy that, unlike the differentiation of other cell types such as preadipocytes or chondroblasts, the effect of hypoxia on myogenesis is independent of HIF-1, a ubiquitous regulator of transcription under hypoxia. While myogenesis can also adapt to glucose deprivation, the combination of severe hypoxia and glucose deprivation found in an ischemic environment results in pronounced loss of myoblasts. Our studies indicate that the ischemic muscle can be repaired via the adaptive differentiation of myogenic precursors, which depends on the levels of oxygen and glucose in the ischemic microenvironment.