myogenin: Human candidate gene and knockout mouse effect

Brian Siang-Juh Tseng, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The myogenin gene encodes an evolutionarily conserved basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that regulates the expression of skeletal muscle-specific genes and its homozygous deletion results in mice who die of respiratory failure at birth. The histology of skeletal muscle in the myogenin null mice is reminiscent of that found in some severe congenital myopathy patients, many of whom also die of respiratory complications and provides the rationale that an aberrant human myogenin (myf4) coding region could be associated with some congenital myopathy conditions. With PCR, we found similarly sized amplimers for the three exons of the myogenin gene in 37 patient and 40 control samples. In contrast to the GeneBank sequence for human myogenin, we report several differences in flanking and coding regions plus an additional 659 and 498 bps in the first and second introns, respectively, in all patients and controls. We also find a novel (CA)-dinucleotide repeat in the second intron. No causative mutations were detected in the myogenin coding regions of genomic DNA from patients with severe congenital myopathy. Severe congenital myopathies in humans are often associated with respiratory complications and pulmonary hypoplasia. We have employed the myogenin null mouse, which lacks normal development of skeletal muscle fibers as a genetically defined severe congenital myopathy mouse model to evaluate the effect of absent fetal breathing movement on pulmonary development. Significant differences are observed at embryonic days E14, E17 and E20 of lung:body weight, total DNA and histologically, suggesting that the myogenin null lungs are hypoplastic. RT-PCR, in-situ immunofluorescence and EM reveal pneumocyte type II differentiation in both null and wild lungs as early as E14. However, at E14, myogenin null lungs have decreased BrdU incorporation while E17 through term, augmented cell death is detected in the myogenin null lungs, not seen in wild littermates. Absent mechanical forces appear to impair normal growth, but not maturation, of the developing lungs in myogenin null mouse. These investigations provide the basis for delineating the DNA sequence of the myogenin gene and and highlight the importance of skeletal muscle development in utero for normal lung organogenesis. My observation of no mutations within the coding regions of the human myogenin gene in DNA from patients with severe congenital myopathy do not support any association with this condition.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Tseng, Brian Siang-Juh, "myogenin: Human candidate gene and knockout mouse effect" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9838742.