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Up-regulation of muscle-specific transcription factors during embryonic somitogenesis of zebrafish (Danio rerio) by knock-down of myostatin-1

Amali AA, Lin CJ, Chen YH, Wang WL, Gong HY, Lee CY, Ko YL, Lu JK, Her GM, Chen TT, Wu JL
Dev Dyn. 2004 Apr;229(4):847-56
Myostatin, a secreted growth and differentiation factor (GDF-8) belongs to transforming growth factor (TGF-beta) superfamily that plays as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle development and growth. Recently, myostatin has been isolated from fish; however, its role in muscle development and growth remains unknown. Here, we present the expression of myostatin during development and the effects of its knock-down on various genes such as muscle regulatory transcription factors (MRFs), muscle-specific proteins (MSP), and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). The myostatin expression was found to be maternal as it starts in one-cell stage onward. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), in situ hybridization, and Southern and Northern blots demonstrated that the myostatin expression is not only restricted to skeletal muscle, but it expressed all the tested tissues. Expression of myostatin was effected by using antisense morpholinos resulted in significant phenotypic difference in stages 18 and 20 hours postfertilization (hpf). To confirm the specificity of myostatin morpholino, furthermore, a rescue experiment was conducted. The length as well as width of somites was increased with almost no gap in between the somites. In addition, it deserves to mention that this is a first animal model that shows changes in the size of the somites. Moreover, analyses of MRFs, MSP, and IGFs in the knock-down embryos by RT-PCR revealed the up-regulation of MyoD, Myogenin, and Mck transcription, whereas IGF-2 transcription showed mild response with no effect on IGF-1, Desmin, and Myf5. In situ hybridization showed that there was an increase in the number of somites from 3 to 4 at 13 and 22 hpf. Taken together, these data suggest that myostatin plays a major role during myogenesis, apart from inhibition of proliferation as well as differentiation.
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