Our previous transcriptional profiling study using a turkey skeletal muscle-specific oligonucleotide microarray revealed over 3,000 genes that were differentially expressed at 3 critical stages of muscle development: 18 d embryonic, 1 d posthatch, and 16 wk of age. The genes versican, matrix Gla protein (MGP), and death-associated protein (DAP) were selected to study for their potential effects on muscle satellite cell proliferation and differentiation, as their functions in other tissues are suggestive of possible key roles in the regulation of myogenesis and they are differentially expressed throughout muscle development in the turkey. Using small interfering RNA to knockdown the expression of these genes during proliferation and differentiation, each of the genes was found to differentially affect proliferation and differentiation. Versican and MGP predominantly affected proliferation with line effects, but later stages of differentiation were affected by the knockdown of versican and MGP. The underexpression of DAP inhibited myotube formation, which is a necessary stage in the development of muscle fibers. Without myotube development, muscle fiber formation will be inhibited or abolished. This is the first report that these genes with no previously documented functions with regard to muscle development play a critical role in muscle cell proliferation and differentiation.
- Death-associated protein
- Matrix Gla protein