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).
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.
The transcription factors MyoD and Myf-5 control myoblast identity and differentiation. MyoD and Myf-5 manifest opposite cell cycle-specific expression patterns. Here, we provide evidence that MyoD plays a pivotal role at the G2/M transition by controlling the expression of p21Waf1/Cip1 (p21), which is believed to regulate cyclin B-Cdc2 kinase activity in G2. In growing myoblasts, MyoD reaccumulates during G2 concomitantly with p21 before entry into mitosis; MyoD is phosphorylated on Ser5 and Ser200 by cyclin B-Cdc2, resulting in a decrease of its stability and down-regulation of both MyoD and p21. Inducible expression of a nonphosphorylable MyoD A5/A200 enhances the MyoD interaction with the coactivator P/CAF, thereby stimulating the transcriptional activation of a luciferase reporter gene placed under the control of the p21 promoter. MyoD A5/A200 causes sustained p21 expression, which inhibits cyclin B-Cdc2 kinase activity in G2 and delays M-phase entry. This G2 arrest is not observed in p21−/− cells. These results show that in cycling cells MyoD functions as a transcriptional activator of p21 and that MyoD phosphorylation is required for G2/M transition.
We have examined the role of protein phosphorylation in the modulation of the key muscle-specific transcription factor MyoD. We show that MyoD is highly phosphorylated in growing myoblasts and undergoes substantial dephosphorylation during differentiation. MyoD can be efficiently phosphorylated in vitro by either purified cdk1-cyclin B or cdk1 and cdk2 immunoprecipitated from proliferative myoblasts. Comparative two-dimensional tryptic phosphopeptide mapping combined with site-directed mutagenesis revealed that cdk1 and cdk2 phosphorylate MyoD on serine 200 in proliferative myoblasts. In addition, when the seven proline-directed sites in MyoD were individually mutated, only substitution of serine 200 to a nonphosphorylatable alanine (MyoD-Ala200) abolished the slower-migrating hyperphosphorylated form of MyoD, seen either in vitro after phosphorylation by cdk1-cyclin B or in vivo following overexpression in 10T1/2 cells. The MyoD-Ala200 mutant displayed activity threefold higher than that of wild-type MyoD in transactivation of an E-box-dependent reporter gene and promoted markedly enhanced myogenic conversion and fusion of 10T1/2 fibroblasts into muscle cells. In addition, the half-life of MyoD-Ala200 protein was longer than that of wild-type MyoD, substantiating a role of Ser200 phosphorylation in regulating MyoD turnover in proliferative myoblasts. Taken together, our data show that direct phosphorylation of MyoD Ser200 by cdk1 and cdk2 plays an integral role in compromising MyoD activity during myoblast proliferation.
The bHLH transcription factor MyoD, the prototypical master regulator of differentiation, directs a complex program of gene expression during skeletal myogenesis. The up-regulation of the cdk inhibitor p57kip2 plays a critical role in coordinating differentiation and growth arrest during muscle development, as well as in other tissues. p57kip2 displays a highly specific expression pattern and is subject to a complex epigenetic control driving the imprinting of the paternal allele. However, the regulatory mechanisms governing its expression during development are still poorly understood. We have identified an unexpected mechanism by which MyoD regulates p57kip2 transcription in differentiating muscle cells. We show that the induction of p57kip2 requires MyoD binding to a long-distance element located within the imprinting control region KvDMR1 and the consequent release of a chromatin loop involving p57kip2 promoter. We also show that differentiation-dependent regulation of p57kip2, while involving a region implicated in the imprinting process, is distinct and hierarchically subordinated to the imprinting control. These findings highlight a novel mechanism, involving the modification of higher order chromatin structures, by which MyoD regulates gene expression. Our results also suggest that chromatin folding mediated by KvDMR1 could account for the highly restricted expression of p57kip2 during development and, possibly, for its aberrant silencing in some pathologies.
K cyclin encoded by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus confers resistance to the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors p16Ink4A, p21Cip1, and p27Kip1 on the associated cdk6. We have previously shown that K cyclin expression enforces S-phase entry on cells overexpressing p27Kip1 by promoting phosphorylation of p27Kip1 on threonine 187, triggering p27Kip1 down-regulation. Since p21Cip1 acts in a manner similar to that of p27Kip1, we have investigated the subversion of a p21Cip1-induced G1 arrest by K cyclin. Here, we show that p21Cip1 is associated with K cyclin both in overexpression models and in primary effusion lymphoma cells and is a substrate of the K cyclin/cdk6 complex, resulting in phosphorylation of p21Cip1 on serine 130. This phosphoform of p21Cip1 appeared unable to associate with cdk2 in vivo. We further demonstrate that phosphorylation on serine 130 is essential for K cyclin-mediated release of a p21Cip1-imposed G1 arrest. Moreover, we show that under physiological conditions of cell cycle arrest due to elevated levels of p21Cip1 resulting from oxidative stress, K cyclin expression enabled S-phase entry and was associated with p21Cip1 phosphorylation and partial restoration of cdk2 kinase activity. Thus, expression of the viral cyclin enables cells to subvert the cell cycle inhibitory function of p21Cip1 by promoting cdk6-dependent phosphorylation of this antiproliferative protein.
Myogenesis is a multistep process, in which myoblasts withdraw from the cell cycle, cease to divide, elongate and fuse to form multinucleated myotubes. Cell cycle transition is controlled by a family of cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs) regulated by association with cyclins, negative regulatory subunits and phosphorylation. Muscle differentiation is orchestrated by myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs), such as MyoD and Myf-5. DNA methylation is crucial in transcriptional control of genes involved in myogenesis. Previous work has indicated that treatment of fibroblasts with the DNA-demethylating agent 5-azacytidine (AZA) promotes MyoD expression. We studied the effects of AZA on cell cycle regulation and MRFs synthesis during myoblast proliferation and early myogenesis phases in C2C12 cells. During the proliferation phase, cells were incubated in growth medium with 5µM AZA (GMAZA) or without AZA (GM) for 24 hours. At 70% confluence, cells were kept in growth medium in order to spontaneously achieve differentiation or transferred to differentiation medium with 5μM AZA (DMAZA) or without AZA (DM) for 12 and 24 hours. Cells used as control were unstimulated.
In the proliferation phase, AZA-treated cells seemed to lose their characteristic circular shape and become elongated. The presence of AZA resulted in significant increases in the protein contents of Cyclin-D (FC:1.23 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.05), p21 (FC: 1.23 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.05), Myf-5 (FC: 1.21 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.05) and MyoD (FC: 1.20 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.05). These results propose that AZA could inhibit cell proliferation.
During 12 hours of differentiation, AZA decreased the downregulation of genes involved in cell cycle arrest and in restriction point (G1 and G1/S phase) and the expression of several cyclins, E2F Transcription Factors, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, specific genes responsible of cell cycle negative regulation. During 24 hours of differentiation, AZA induced an increment in the protein expression of Myf-5 (FC: 1.57 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.05), MyoD (FC: 1.14 DM vs GM p≤0.05; FC: 1.47 DMAZA vs GM p≤0.05), p21 (FC: 1.36 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.01; FC: 1.49 DM vs GM p≤0.05; FC: 1.82 DMAZA vs GM p≤0.01) and MyHC (FC: 1.40 GMAZA vs GM p≤0.01; FC: 2.39 DM vs GM p≤0.05; FC: 3.51 DMAZA vs GM p≤0.01). Our results suggest that AZA-induced DNA demethylation can modulate cell cycle progression and enhance myogenesis. The effects of AZA may open novel clinical uses in the field of muscle injury research and treatment.
cell cycle; DNA methylation; myogenic transcription factors; myogenic phenotype; myogenesis
When introduced into P19 embryonal carcinoma cells, recombinant genes encoding MyoD converted only a small percentage (< 3%) of the transfected cells into skeletal muscle. We isolated stably transfected cells that expressed the MyoD transcript. These P19[MyoD] cells continued to express markers characteristic of undifferentiated stem cells but also expressed myf-5 and the myotonic dystrophy kinase, transcripts normally present in myoblasts but absent from P19 cells. Aggregation of P19[MyoD] cells induced the expression of myogenin, desmin, and the retinoblastoma protein and resulted in the rapid and abundant development of skeletal muscle. Both the embryonic and the slow isoforms of myosin heavy chain were present in this muscle, indicating that it resembled skeletal muscle formed from primary myoblasts. Since aggregation of P19 cells normally results in inefficient differentiation and the development of only low levels of cardiac muscle but no skeletal muscle, we conclude that MyoD imposes the skeletal muscle program on P19 cells and that the differentiation of these cells requires inductive events provided by cell aggregation.
The cyclin/cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p27kip1 is thought to be responsible for the onset and maintenance of the quiescent state. It is possible, however, that cells respond differently to p27kip1 in different conditions, and using a BALB/c-3T3 cell line (termed p27-47) that inducibly expresses high levels of this protein, we show that the effect of p27kip1 on cell cycle traverse is determined by cell density. We found that ectopic expression of p27kip1 blocked the proliferation of p27-47 cells at high density but had little effect on the growth of cells at low density whether exponentially cycling or stimulated from quiescence. Regardless of cell density, the activities of cdk4 and cdk2 were markedly repressed by p27kip1 expression, as was the cdk4-dependent dissociation of E2F4/p130 complexes. Infection of cells with SV40, a DNA tumor virus known to abrogate formation of p130- and Rb-containing complexes, allowed dense cultures to proliferate in the presence of supraphysiological amounts of p27kip1 but did not stimulate cell cycle traverse when cultures were cotreated with the potent cdk2 inhibitor roscovitine. Our data suggest that residual levels of cyclin/cdk activity persist in p27kip1-expressing p27-47 cells and are sufficient for the growth of low-density cells and of high-density cells infected with SV40, and that effective disruption of p130 and/or Rb complexes is obligatory for the proliferation of high-density cultures.
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
We show that in mouse myoblasts the MyoD1 promoter is highly stimulated by MyoD1 expression, suggesting that it is controlled by a positive feedback loop. Using deletion and mutation analyses, we identified the targets for MyoD1 promoter autoregulation as the two proximal E-boxes located close to the MyoD1 core promoter. Gel mobility shift competition assays with MyoD1 antibodies as competitor suggest that the MyoD1 protein is binding directly to these E-boxes. Autoregulation did not occur in fibroblasts cotransfected with the expression vector of MyoD1. It is assumed that autoregulation is controlled by the stoichiometry between the MyoD1 protein and negatively regulatory proteins like Id, which is known to be highly expressed in fibroblasts. When the MyoD1 promoter was methylated, autoregulation only occurred when the density of methylated sites was low. The density of DNA methylation, therefore, can determine the accessibility of the MyoD1 promoter to transcription factors and interfere with the auto- and crossregulatory loop. The MyoD1 promoter in vivo was found to be only partially methylated in all tissues tested except in skeletal muscle where it was demethylated. We propose that high level expression of the MyoD1 gene is a result of release from constraints such as negative regulatory factors and/or DNA methylation interfering with MyoD1 autoregulation.
To gain insight into the regeneration deficit of MyoD−/− muscle, we investigated the growth and differentiation of cultured MyoD−/− myogenic cells. Primary MyoD−/− myogenic cells exhibited a stellate morphology distinct from the compact morphology of wild-type myoblasts, and expressed c-met, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in satellite cells. However, MyoD−/− myogenic cells did not express desmin, an intermediate filament protein typically expressed in cultured myoblasts in vitro and myogenic precursor cells in vivo. Northern analysis indicated that proliferating MyoD−/− myogenic cells expressed fourfold higher levels of Myf-5 and sixfold higher levels of PEA3, an ETS-domain transcription factor expressed in newly activated satellite cells. Under conditions that normally induce differentiation, MyoD−/− cells continued to proliferate and with delayed kinetics yielded reduced numbers of predominantly mononuclear myocytes. Northern analysis revealed delayed induction of myogenin, MRF4, and other differentiation-specific markers although p21 was upregulated normally. Expression of M-cadherin mRNA was severely decreased whereas expression of IGF-1 was markedly increased in MyoD−/− myogenic cells. Mixing of lacZ-labeled MyoD−/− cells and wild-type myoblasts revealed a strict autonomy in differentiation potential. Transfection of a MyoD-expression cassette restored cytomorphology and rescued the differentiation deficit. We interpret these data to suggest that MyoD−/− myogenic cells represent an intermediate stage between a quiescent satellite cell and a myogenic precursor cell.
MyoD; myogenic regulatory factor; satellite cell; differentiation; proliferation
During the terminal differentiation of skeletal myoblasts, the activities of myogenic factors regulate not only tissue-specific gene expressions but also the exit from the cell cycle. The induction of cell cycle inhibitors such as p21 and pRb has been shown to play a prominent role in the growth arrest of differentiating myoblasts. Here we report that, at the onset of differentiation, activation by MyoD of the Rb, p21, and cyclin D3 genes occurs in the absence of new protein synthesis and with the requirement of the p300 transcriptional coactivator. In differentiated myocytes, cyclin D3 also becomes stabilized and is found nearly totally complexed with unphosphorylated pRb. The detection of complexes containing cyclin D3, cdk4, p21, and PCNA suggests that cdk4, along with PCNA, may get sequestered into high-order structures held together by pRb and cyclin D3. Cyclin D3 up-regulation and stabilization is inhibited by adenovirus E1A, and this correlates with the ability of E1A to promote pRb phosphorylation; conversely, the overexpression of cyclin D3 in differentiated myotubes counteracts the E1A-mediated reactivation of DNA synthesis. These results indicate that cyclin D3 critically contributes to the irreversible exit of differentiating myoblasts from the cell cycle.
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.
Proliferating cells express cyclins, cell cycle regulatory proteins that regulate the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). The actions of CDKs are regulated by specific inhibitors, the CDK inhibitors (CDKIs), which are comprised of the Cip/Kip and INK4 families. Expression of the Cip/Kip CDKI 1B (Cdkn1b, encoding protein CDKN1B, also called p27kip1) in developing Leydig cells (LCs) has been reported, but the function of CDKN1B in LCs is unclear. The goal of the present study was to determine the effects of CDKN1B on LC proliferation and steroidogenesis by examining these parameters in Cdkn1b knockout (Cdkn1b−/−) mice. LC proliferation was measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation. Testicular testosterone levels, mRNA levels, and enzyme activities of steroidogenic enzymes were compared in Cdkn1b−/− and Cdkn1b+/+ mice. The labeling index of LCs in Cdkn1b−/− mice was 1.5% ± 0.2%, almost 7-fold higher than 0.2% ± 0.08% (P < 0.001) in the Cdkn1b+/+ control mice. LC number per testis in Cdkn1b−/− mice was 2-fold that seen in the Cdkn1b+/+ control mice. However, testicular testosterone levels, mRNA levels of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (Star), cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (Cyp11a1), and 3beta-hydroxtsteroid dehydrogenase 6 (Hsd3b6), and their respective proteins, were significantly lower in Cdkn1b−/− mice. We conclude that deficiency of CDKN1B increased LC proliferation, but decreased steroidogenesis. Thus, CDKN1B is an important regulator of LC development and function.
Deficiency of CDKN1B caused the increase of Leydig cell proliferation.
cell cycle; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor; mitogenesis; testosterone
We show here that the distal regulatory region (DRR) of the mouse and human MyoD gene contains a conserved SRF binding CArG-like element. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays with myoblast nuclear extracts, this CArG sequence, although slightly divergent, bound two complexes containing, respectively, the transcription factor YY1 and SRF associated with the acetyltransferase CBP and members of C/EBP family. A single nucleotide mutation in the MyoD-CArG element suppressed binding of both SRF and YY1 complexes and abolished DRR enhancer activity in stably transfected myoblasts. This MyoD-CArG sequence is active in modulating endogeneous MyoD gene expression because microinjection of oligonucleotides corresponding to the MyoD-CArG sequence specifically and rapidly suppressed MyoD expression in myoblasts. In vivo, the expression of a transgenic construct comprising a minimal MyoD promoter fused to the DRR and β-galactosidase was induced with the same kinetics as MyoD during mouse muscle regeneration. In contrast induction of this reporter was no longer seen in regenerating muscle from transgenic mice carrying a mutated DRR-CArG. These results show that an SRF binding CArG element present in MyoD gene DRR is involved in the control of MyoD gene expression in skeletal myoblasts and in mature muscle satellite cell activation during muscle regeneration.
HTLV-1 Tax can induce senescence by up-regulating the levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21CIP1/WAF1 and p27KIP1. Tax increases p27KIP1 protein stability by activating the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) precociously, causing degradation of Skp2 and inactivation of SCFSkp2, the E3 ligase that targets p27KIP1. The rate of p21CIP1/WAF1 protein turnover, however, is unaffected by Tax. Rather, the mRNA of p21CIP1/WAF1 is greatly up-regulated. Here we show that Tax increases p21 mRNA expression by transcriptional activation and mRNA stabilization. Transcriptional activation of p21CIP1/WAF1 by Tax occurs in a p53-independent manner and requires two tumor growth factor-β-inducible Sp1 binding sites in the -84 to -60 region of the p21CIP1/WAF1 promoter. Tax binds Sp1 directly, and the CBP/p300-binding activity of Tax is required for p21CIP1/WAF1 trans-activation. Tax also increases the stability of p21CIP1/WAF1 transcript. Several Tax mutants trans-activated the p21 promoter, but were attenuated in stabilizing p21CIP1/WAF1 mRNA, and were less proficient in increasing p21CIP1/WAF1 expression. The possible involvement of Tax-mediated APC/C activation in p21CIP1/WAF1 mRNA stabilization is discussed.
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.
We have investigated the regulation of p27kip1, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in BALB/c 3T3 cells during growth factor-stimulated transition from quiescence (G0) to a proliferative (G1) state. The level of p27kip1 protein falls dramatically after mitogenic stimulation and is accompanied by a decrease in cyclin E associated p27kip1, as well as a transient increase in cyclin D1-associated p27kip1 that later declines concomitantly with the loss of total p27kip1. Analysis of metabolically labelled cells revealed that cyclin D2, cyclin D3, and cdk4 were also partnered with p27kip1 in quiescent BALB/c 3T3 cells and that this association decreased after platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) treatment. Furthermore, the decline in p27kip1 and reduced association with cyclin D3, initiated by the addition of PDGF but not plasma-derived factors, suggested that these changes are involved in competence, the first step in the exit from G0. Synthesis of p27kip1 as determined by incorporation of [35S]methionine was repressed upon mitogenic stimulation, and PDGF was sufficient to elicit this repression within 2 to 3 h. Pulse-chase experiments demonstrated the reduced rate of synthesis was not the result of an increased rate of degradation. Full repression of p27kip1 synthesis required the continued presence of PDGF and failed to occur in the presence of the RNA polymerase inhibitor 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole riboside. These characteristics demonstrate that repression was a late effect of PDGF and was consistent with our finding that conditional expression of activated H-ras did not affect synthesis of p27kip1. Northern (RNA) analysis of p27kip1 mRNA revealed that the repression was not accompanied by a corresponding decrease in p27kip1 mRNA, suggesting that the PDGF-regulated decrease in p27kip1 expression occurred through a translational mechanism.
Skeletal muscle stem cell–derived myoblasts are mainly responsible for postnatal muscle growth and injury-induced muscle regeneration. However, the cellular signaling pathways controlling the proliferation and differentiation of myoblasts are not fully understood. We demonstrate that Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) is required for myoblast proliferation and that it also functions as a checkpoint to prevent myoblasts from premature differentiation. Deliberate knockdown of JAK1 in both primary and immortalized myoblasts induces precocious myogenic differentiation with a concomitant reduction in cell proliferation. This is caused, in part, by an accelerated induction of MyoD, myocyte enhancer–binding factor 2 (MEF2), p21Cip1, and p27Kip1, a faster down-regulation of Id1, and an increase in MEF2-dependent gene transcription. Downstream of JAK1, of all the signal transducer and activator of transcriptions (STATs) present in myoblasts, we find that only STAT1 knockdown promotes myogenic differentiation in both primary and immortalized myoblasts. Leukemia inhibitory factor stimulates myoblast proliferation and represses differentiation via JAK1–STAT1–STAT3. Thus, JAK1–STAT1–STAT3 constitutes a signaling pathway that promotes myoblast proliferation and prevents premature myoblast differentiation.
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.
When mouse myoblasts or satellite cells differentiate in culture, the expression of myogenic regulatory factor, MyoD, is downregulated in a subset of cells that do not differentiate. The mechanism involved in the repression of MyoD expression remains largely unknown. Here we report that a stress-response pathway repressing MyoD transcription is transiently activated in mouse-derived C2C12 myoblasts growing under differentiation-promoting conditions. We show that phosphorylation of the α subunit of the translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) is followed by expression of C/EBP homology protein (CHOP) in some myoblasts. ShRNA-driven knockdown of CHOP expression caused earlier and more robust differentiation, whereas its constitutive expression delayed differentiation relative to wild type myoblasts. Cells expressing CHOP did not express the myogenic regulatory factors MyoD and myogenin. These results indicated that CHOP directly repressed the transcription of the MyoD gene. In support of this view, CHOP associated with upstream regulatory region of the MyoD gene and its activity reduced histone acetylation at the enhancer region of MyoD. CHOP interacted with histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) in cells. This protein complex may reduce histone acetylation when bound to MyoD regulatory regions. Overall, our results suggest that the activation of a stress pathway in myoblasts transiently downregulate the myogenic program.
It is widely acknowledged that cultured myoblasts can not differentiate at very low density. Here we analyzed the mechanism through which cell density influences myogenic differentiation in vitro. By comparing the behavior of C2C12 myoblasts at opposite cell densities, we found that, when cells are sparse, failure to undergo terminal differentiation is independent from cell cycle control and reflects the lack of p27Kip1 and MyoD in proliferating myoblasts. We show that inhibition of p27Kip1 expression impairs C2C12 cell differentiation at high density, while exogenous p27Kip1 allows low-density cultured C2C12 cells to enter the differentiative program by regulating MyoD levels in undifferentiated myoblasts. We also demonstrate that the early induction of p27Kip1 is a critical step of the N-cadherin-dependent signaling involved in myogenesis. Overall, our data support an active role of p27Kip1 in the decision of myoblasts to commit to terminal differentiation, distinct from the regulation of cell proliferation, and identify a pathway that, reasonably, operates in vivo during myogenesis and might be part of the phenomenon known as “community effect”.
Endoreduplication is an unusual form of cell cycle in which rounds of DNA synthesis repeat in the absence of intervening mitoses. How G1/S cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) activity is regulated during the mammalian endocycle is poorly understood. We show here that expression of the G1/S Cdk inhibitor p57Kip2 is induced coincidentally with the transition to the endocycle in trophoblast giant cells. Kip2 mRNA is constitutively expressed during subsequent endocycles, but the protein level fluctuates. In trophoblast giant cells synchronized for the first few endocycles, the p57Kip2 protein accumulates only at the end of S-phase and then rapidly disappears a few hours before the onset of the next S-phase. The protein becomes stabilized by mutation of a C-terminal Cdk phosphorylation site. As a consequence, introduction of this stable form of p57Kip2 into giant cells blocks S-phase entry. These data imply that p57Kip2 is subject to phosphorylation-dependent turnover. Surprisingly, although this occurs in endoreduplicating giant cells, p57Kip2 is stable when ectopically expressed in proliferating trophoblast cells, indicating that these cells lack the mechanism for protein targeting and/or degradation. These data show that the appearance of p57Kip2 punctuates the completion of DNA replication, whereas its turnover is subsequently required to initiate the next round of endoreduplication in trophoblast giant cells. Cyclical expression of a Cdk inhibitor, by terminating G1/S Cdk activity, may help promote the resetting of DNA replication machinery.
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.