STE20-like kinase SLK displays myofiber type specificity and is involved in C2C12 myoblast differentiation

Christopher J. Storbeck, Kate Daniel, Yi Hong Zhang, John Lunde, Anthony Scime, Atsushi Asakura, Bernard Jasmin, Robert G. Korneluk, Luc A. Sabourin

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19 Scopus citations


Cell growth and terminal differentiation are controlled by complex signaling cascades that regulate the expression of specific subsets of genes implicated in cell fate and morphogenic processes. We have recently cloned and characterized a novel Ste20-like kinase termed SLK that is associated with adhesion structures during cell adhesion and spreading. However, the specific function of SLK is poorly understood. To gain further insight into the role of SLK, we have characterized its activity, expression, and distribution in skeletal muscle and during the in vitro differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts. Although SLK is expressed ubiquitously in adult tissues, our results show that it is predominantly expressed in muscle masses during development. Furthermore, SLK activity is upregulated during the differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts. In addition, we have found that SLK localizes presynaptically at neuromuscular junctions and that it is preferentially expressed in types I and IIA myofibers at major myofibrillar striations. Supporting a role in myoblast function and differentiation, SLK expression is induced in Myf5- and Pax7-positive activated satellite cells during regeneration and expression of dominant negative SLK in C2C12 cultures impairs myoblast fusion, suggesting a role for SLK in muscle cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-564
Number of pages12
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Myoblast fusion
  • Myofiber
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • SLK
  • Ste20-like kinase


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