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MyoD And Myf-5 Define The Specification Of Musculature Of Distinct Embryonic Origin

Boris Kablar, Atsushi Asakura, Kirsten Krastel, Chuyan Ying, Linda L May, David J Goldhamer, Michael A Rudnicki

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Mounting evidence supports the notion that Myf-5 and MyoD play unique roles in the development of epaxial (originating in the dorso-medial half of the somite, e.g. back muscles) and hypaxial (originating in the ventro-lateral half of the somite, e.g. limb and body wall muscles) musculature. To further understand how Myf-5 and MyoD genes co-operate during skeletal muscle specification, we examined and compared the expression pattern of MyoD-lacZ (258/-2.5lacZ and MD6.0-lacZ) transgenes in wild-type, Myf-5, and MyoD mutant embryos. We found that the delayed onset of muscle differentiation in the branchial arches, tongue, limbs, and diaphragm of MyoD-/- embryos was a consequence of a reduced ability of myogenic precursor cells to progress through their normal developmental program and not because of a defect in migration of muscle progenitor cells into these regions. We also found that myogenic precursor cells for back, intercostal, and abdominal wall musculature in Myf-5-/-embryos failed to undergo normal translocation or differentiation. By contrast, the myogenic precursors of intercostal and abdominal wall musculature in MyoD-/- embryos underwent normal translocation but failed to undergo timely differentiation. In conclusion, these observations strongly support the hypothesis that Myf-5 plays a unique role in the development of muscles arising after translocation of epithelial dermamyotome cells along the medial edge of the somite to the subjacent myotome (e.g., back or epaxial muscle) and that MyoD plays a unique role in the development of muscles arising from migratory precursor cells (e.g., limb and branchial arch muscles, tongue, and diaphragm). In addition, the expression pattern of MyoD-lacZ transgenes in the intercostal and abdominal wall muscles of Myf-5-/- and MyoD-/- embryos suggests that appropriate development of these muscles is dependent on both genes and, therefore, these muscles have a dual embryonic origin (epaxial and hypaxial).Key words: epaxial and hypaxial muscle, Myf-5, MyoD, mouse development, somite.