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MyoD is functionally linked to the silencing of a muscle-specific regulatory gene prior to skeletal myogenesis

By Asoke Mal and Marian L. Harter


Most of the genes that are central to the process of skeletal muscle differentiation remain in a transcriptionally silent or “off” state until muscle cells (myoblasts) are induced to differentiate. Although the mechanisms that contribute to this phenomenon are still unclear, it is likely that histone deacetylases (HDACs), which play an important role in the repression of genes, are principally involved. Recent studies indicate that the initiator of the myogenic program, namely MyoD, can associate with the deacetylase HDAC1 in vivo, and because HDACs are usually recruited to promoters by specific proteins, we considered the possibility that these two proteins might be acting together at the promoters of muscle-specific genes to repress their transcription in myoblasts. In this work, we show by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays that MyoD and HDAC1 are both occupying the promoter of myogenin and that this gene is in a region of repressed chromatin, as revealed by enrichment in histone H3 lysine 9 (Lys-9) methylation and the underacetylation of histones. Surprisingly, after the myoblasts are induced to differentiate, the promoter becomes absent of HDAC1, and eventually the acetyltransferase P/CAF takes it place alongside MyoD. In addition, enrichment of histone H3 acetylation (Lys-9/14) and phosphorylation of Ser-10 can now be observed at the myogenin promoter. These data strongly suggest that in addition to its widely accepted role as an activator of differentiation-specific genes, MyoD also can perform as a transcriptional repressor in proliferating myoblasts while in partnership with a HDAC

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.0437843100
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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