Transcription of MyoD and myogenin in the non-contractile electrogenic cells of the weakly eletric fish, Sternopygus macrurus

Jung A. Kim, Colleen Jonsson, Tiffany Calderone, Graciela A. Unguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The MyoD family of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) are transcriptional activators of skeletal muscle gene expression and are pivotal in inducing the full myogenic program. The expression of these factors after muscle differentiation is complete and the mechanism by which they modulate (or maintain) the muscle phenotype is less well understood. The myogenically derived electric organ (EO) of the electric fish Sternopygus macrurus is an excellent model to address this question. The electrocytes, i.e., the electrogenic cells of the EO, are not contractile but they do retain some muscle proteins. In order to examine the molecular regulatory pathways that control the muscle-to-electrocyte cell conversion, we have cloned the MyoD and myogenin cDNAs from S. macrurus. Clustal-based alignments showed that the functional domains observed in mammalian MyoD and myogenin are highly conserved in these MRF homologs. Expression analyses revealed that mature electrocytes, which retain the muscle proteins dystrophin, desmin, acetylcholine. receptors (AChRs), α-actin, and α-actinin, also transcribe the MyoD and myogenin genes. RT-PCR studies confirmed that expression of these MRFs is confined to the myogenic lineage. Surprisingly, the levels of MyoD and myogenin transcripts in skeletal muscle and EO could not be used to predict the level to which a cell manifests the muscle program. We conclude that expression of multiple MRFs is not sufficient to induce non-contractile cells to fully express the skeletal muscle program. These data also suggest that the MRF transcriptional program in S. macrurus may be distinct from MRF-dependent myogenesis in other vertebrate systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-392
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopment Genes and Evolution
Volume214
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004

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Myogenic Regulatory Factors
Myogenin
Fishes
Electric Organ
Skeletal Muscle
Muscle Proteins
Muscles
Electric Fish
Actinin
Dystrophin
Desmin
Muscle Development
Muscle Cells
Acetylcholine
Vertebrates
Actins
Complementary DNA
Phenotype
Gene Expression
Polymerase Chain Reaction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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Transcription of MyoD and myogenin in the non-contractile electrogenic cells of the weakly eletric fish, Sternopygus macrurus. / Kim, Jung A.; Jonsson, Colleen; Calderone, Tiffany; Unguez, Graciela A.

In: Development Genes and Evolution, Vol. 214, No. 8, 01.07.2004, p. 380-392.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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