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Developmental And Hormonal Regulation Of Sarcomeric Myosin Heavy Chain Gene Family.

V. Mahdavi, S. Izumo, B. Nadal-Ginard
Published 1987 · Biology, Medicine

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Sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MHC), the main component of the sarcomere, contains the ATPase activity that generates the contractile force of cardiac and skeletal muscles. The different MHC isoforms are encoded by a closely related multigene family. Most members (seven) of this gene family have been isolated and characterized in the rat, including the alpha- and beta-cardiac, skeletal embryonic, neonatal, fast IIA, fast IIB, and extraocular specific MHC. The slow type I skeletal MHC is encoded by the same gene that codes for the cardiac beta-MHC. Each MHC gene studied displays a pattern of expression that is tissue and developmental stage specific, both in cardiac and skeletal muscles. Furthermore, more than one MHC gene is expressed in each muscle while each gene is expressed in more than one tissue. The expression of each MHC gene in cardiac and skeletal muscles is modulated by thyroid hormone. Surprisingly, however, the same MHC gene can be regulated by the hormone in a significantly different manner, even in opposite directions, depending on the muscle in which it is expressed. Moreover, the skeletal embryonic and neonatal MHC genes, so far considered specific to these 2 developmental stages, are normally expressed in certain adult muscles and can be reinduced by hypothyroidism in specific muscles. This complex pattern of expression and regulation of the MHC gene family in cardiac and skeletal muscle sheds new light on the mechanisms involved in determining the biochemical basis of the contractile state. It also indicates that the cardiac contractile system needs to be examined in a broader context, including skeletal muscles, in order to understand fully its developmental and physiologic regulation.
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