Specific, temporally regulated expression of the insulin-like growth factor II gene during muscle cell differentiation

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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Neurology

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Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


We have compared the expression of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) messenger RNA (mRNA) to the expression of other mRNAs encoding proteins known to play pivotal roles during the differentiation of continuously cultured, fusing muscle cell lines. These cell lines respond to changes in culture conditions by undergoing a well characterized alteration in gene expression which leads to a change in their phenotype from dividing, mononucleate myoblasts to fused, multinucleate myotubes. The hallmarks of this differentiation program include the induction of myogenic regulatory genes as well as the genes that encode the contractile proteins. We have found that the differentiation of these cells leads to the production of multiple IGF-II transcripts. In one of the cell lines studied, C2C12, IGF-II mRNA levels were rapidly induced during differentiation. Increases in IGF-II mRNA levels preceded the expression of the contractile protein genes but occurred only after the activation of the myogenic regulatory gene myogenin. The same regulated pattern of IGF-II mRNA expression was seen in both rapidly and slowly fusing subclones of this cell line, indicating a requirement for IGF-II at a specific point during muscle differentiation. These results suggest that IGF-II plays an important role during the terminal differentiation of skeletal muscle cells and are consistent with the existence of an autocrine loop through which IGF-II may act to regulate the differentiation process.

DOI of Published Version



Endocrinology. 1993 Aug;133(2):474-81.

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