A study of the in vivo role of myogenin

Julia Hsi Morris, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Myogenin is a member of the MyoD family of skeletal muscle specific bHLH transcription factors. All of the members of this family have been shown to initiate the muscle differentiation cascade in a variety of nonmuscle cell lines. Many of the properties of the MyoD family have been studied in vitro, but their in vivo roles had not yet been examined. In this thesis, I study the in vivo role of myogenin by creating mice that carry a mutation at the myogenin locus. Mice lacking the myogenin protein are born alive, but immobile. Histological examination showed that these mice are severely deficient in skeletal muscle; they show a reduction in the number and density of myofibers. In addition to the reduction in fiber number, these mice express lower levels of a variety of muscle-specific markers. The undifferentiated cells in the muscle forming regions of these mice do express some muscle-specific markers, indicating that these cells are determined but undifferentiated myoblasts. Additional studies show that the major muscle defect arises late in embryogenesis, at a time coincident with secondary myogenesis. Moreover, studies regarding the nature of the remaining myofibers indicate that they are representative of a normal population of myofibers, merely reduced in numbers. In addition, I studied the effects of combining the myogenin mutation with mutations in two other members of the MyoD family, MyoD and myf5. Mice mutant in myogenin + MyoD and myogenin + myf5 show no increase in the severity of the myogenin single mutation, as indicated by histological or molecular examination. These results reveal the unique and essential role of myogenin in mammalian skeletal myogenesis.

Subject Area

Genetics|Molecular biology|Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

Morris, Julia Hsi, "A study of the in vivo role of myogenin" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9600560.