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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Repression of XMyoD expression and myogenesis by Xhairy-1 in Xenopus early embryo.

Activated Notch-Delta signalling was shown to inhibit myogenesis, but whether and how it regulates myogenic gene expression is not clear. We analyzed the implication of Xenopus hairy-1 (Xhairy-1), a member of the hairy and enhancer-of-split (E(spl)) family that may function as nuclear effector of Notch signalling pathway, in regulating XMyoD gene expression at the initial step of myogenesis. Xhairy-1 transcripts are expressed soon after mid-blastula transition and exhibits overlapping expression with Notch pathway genes such as Delta-1 in the posterior somitic mesoderm. We show that overexpression of Xhairy-1 blocks the expression of XMyoD in early gastrula ectodermal cells treated with the mesoderm-inducing factor activin, and in the mesoderm tissues of early embryos. It inhibits myogenesis and produces trunk defects at later stages. Xhairy-1 also inhibits the expression of the pan-mesodermal marker Xbra, but expression of other early mesoderm markers such as goosecoid and chordin is not affected. These effects require the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) domain, as well as a synergy between the central Orange domain and the C-terminus WRPW-Groucho-interacting domain. Furthermore, overexpression in ectodermal cells of Xhairy-1/VP16, in which Xhairy-1 repressor domain is replaced by the activator domain of the viral protein VP16, induces the expression of XMyoD in the absence of protein synthesis. Interestingly, Xhairy-1/VP16 does not induce the expression of Xbra and XMyf5 in the same condition. During neurulation, the expression of XMyoD induced by Xhairy-1/VP16 declines and the expression of muscle actin gene was never detected. These results suggest that Notch signalling through hairy-related genes may specifically regulate XMyoD expression at the initial step of myogenesis in vertebrates.[1]


  1. Repression of XMyoD expression and myogenesis by Xhairy-1 in Xenopus early embryo. Umbhauer, M., Boucaut, J.C., Shi, D.L. Mech. Dev. (2001) [Pubmed]
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