In a paper released online ahead of its scheduled December 15th publication date, Dr. Michael Krause (NIH) and colleagues detail the transcription network that drives muscle development in the roundworm C. elegans, and make a strong argument for an evolutionarily conserved program of myogenesis in all animals. Dr. Krause and colleagues demonstrate that three transcription factors – HLH-1, UNC-120 and HND-1 – redundantly control body wall muscle development in C. elegans. As the corresponding mammalian factors play important roles in directing vertebrate myogenesis, the authors propose that all animal muscle cell types (skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle in vertebrates; and bodywall, smooth and cardiac/pharyngeal muscle in invertebrates) have arisen from a common ancestral precursor. Dr. Krause emphasizes that “understanding the redundancy built into worm muscle development reveals that the core transcriptional regulators of myogenesis are, as we would predict, conserved across animals.”
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