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Muscle and Somite Development 

Muscle and Somite Development
Chapter:
Muscle and Somite Development
Author(s):

Douglas M. Anderson

and Alan Rawls

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199934522.003.0012
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date: 04 March 2021

The genetic pathways regulating skeletal muscle development are among the most intensely during the past 30 years. This is due in large part to cell culture systems that accurately recapitulate muscle differentiation and allow experimental manipulation of signals necessary for myogenesis. Further, the characterization of the myogenic regulatory factors (myf-5, MyoD, myogenin, and MRF4) that began in the late 1980’s provided the initial targets for to study the activation of muscle-specific gene expression. The lessons learned in the elucidation of the complex regulatory network that controls myoblast proliferation, differentiation, hypertrophy, atrophy, and fiber type specificity serve as a paradigm for vertebrate organogenesis. The development of skeletal muscle is intimately linked to somitogenesis. skeletal muscle progenitors first appear within individual somites derived from paraxial mesoderm. During embryonic development, these cells must undergo rapid expansion, migration, differentiation, and remodeling in order to generate the morphologically and functionally diverse perinatal muscles groups. Myogenic cells must also respond to spatial and temporal cues that lead to differences in cell fate along the anterior/posterior (A/P) and dorsal/ventral (D/V) axes. In this chapter we will review the embryonic development of somites and muscle and focus on our current understanding of the genetic regulation of somitogenesis and skeletal muscle development.

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