Regulation of Distinct Stages of Skeletal Muscle Differentiation by Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases

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Science  14 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5341, pp. 1288-1291
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5341.1288

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The signal transduction pathway or pathways linking extracellular signals to myogenesis are poorly defined. Upon mitogen withdrawal from C2C12 myoblasts, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p42Erk2 is inactivated concomitant with up-regulation of muscle-specific genes. Overexpression of MAPK phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) inhibited p42Erk2 activity and was sufficient to relieve the inhibitory effects of mitogens on muscle-specific gene expression. Later during myogenesis, endogenous expression of MKP-1 decreased. MKP-1 overexpression during differentiation prevented myotube formation despite appropriate expression of myosin heavy chain. This indicates that muscle-specific gene expression is necessary but not sufficient to commit differentiated myocytes to myotubes and suggests a function for the MAPKs during the early and late stages of skeletal muscle differentiation.

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