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

MyoD and the specification of muscle and non-muscle fates during postembryonic development of the C. elegans mesoderm.

Basic-helix-loop helix factors of the myoD/myf5/ myogenin/MRF4 family have been implicated in acquisition and elaboration of muscle cell fates. Here we describe both myogenic and non-myogenic roles for the Caenorhabditis elegans member of this family (CeMyoD) in postembryonic mesodermal patterning. The postembryonic mesodermal lineage in C. elegans provides a paradigm for many of the issues in mesodermal fate specification: a single mesoblast ('M') divides to generate 14 striated muscles, 16 non-striated muscles, and two non-muscle cells. To study CeMyoD function in the M lineage, we needed to circumvent an embryonic requirement for the protein. Two approaches were used: (1) isolation of mutants that decrease CeMyoD levels while retaining viability, and (2) analysis of genetic mosaics that had lost CeMyoD in the M lineage. With either manipulation, we observed a series of cell-fate transformations affecting a subset of both striated muscles and non-muscle cells. In place of these normal fates, the affected lineages produced a number of myoblast-like cells that initially failed to differentiate, instead swelling to acquire a resemblance to sex myoblasts (M-lineage-derived precursors to non-striated uterine and vulval muscles). Like normal sex myoblasts, the ectopic myoblast-like cells were capable of migration and proliferation followed by differentiation of progeny cells into vulval and uterine muscle. Our results demonstrate a cell-intrinsic contribution of CeMyoD to specification of both non-muscle and muscle fates.[1]


  1. MyoD and the specification of muscle and non-muscle fates during postembryonic development of the C. elegans mesoderm. Harfe, B.D., Branda, C.S., Krause, M., Stern, M.J., Fire, A. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
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