Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Genes and Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

William Klein, PhD

Committee Member

James Martin, MD, PhD

Committee Member

Elsa Flores, PhD

Committee Member

John Putkey, PhD

Committee Member

Michael Galko, PhD


The four basic helix-loop-helix myogenic transcription factors, myogenin, Myf5, MRF4, and MyoD are critical for embryonic skeletal muscle development. Myogenin is necessary for the terminal differentiation of myoblasts into myofibers during embryogenesis, but little is known about the roles played by myogenin in adult skeletal muscle function and metabolism. Furthermore, while metabolism is a well-studied physiological process, how it is regulated at the transcriptional level remains poorly understood. In this study, my aim was to determine the function of myogenin in adult skeletal muscle metabolism, exercise capacity, and regeneration. To investigate this, I utilized a mouse strain harboring the Myogflox allele and a Cre recombinase transgene, enabling the efficient deletion of myogenin in the adult mouse. Myogflox/flox mice were stressed physically through involuntary treadmill running and by breeding them with a strain harboring the Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMDmdx) allele. Surprisingly, Myog-deleted animals exhibited an enhanced capacity for exercise, running farther and faster than their wild-type counterparts. Increased lactate production and utilization of glucose as a fuel source indicated that Myog-deleted animals exhibited an increased glycolytic flux. Hypoglycemic Myog-deleted mice no longer possessed the ability to outrun their wild-type counterparts, implying the ability of these animals to further deplete their glucose reserves confers their enhanced exercise capacity. Moreover, Myog-deleted mice exhibited an enhanced response to long-term exercise training. The mice developed a greater proportion of type 1 oxidative muscle fibers, and displayed increased levels of succinate dehydrogenase activity, indicative of increased oxidative metabolism. Mdx:Myog-deleted mice exhibited a similar phenotype, outperforming their mdx counterparts, although lagging behind wild-type animals. The morphology of muscle tissue from mdx:Myog-deleted mice appears to mimic that of mdx animals, indicating that myogenin is dispensable for adult skeletal muscle regeneration. Through global gene expression profiling and quantitative (q)RT-PCR, I identified a unique set of putative myogenin-dependent genes involved in regulating metabolic processes. These data suggest myogenin’s functions during adulthood are distinctly different than those during embryogenesis, and myogenin acts as a high-level transcription factor regulating metabolic activity in adult skeletal muscle.


Myogenin, Skeletal Muscle, Muscular Dystrophy