Differential expression of troponin C genes during tongue myogenesis.Dev Dyn. 1997 May; 209(1):36-44.DD
Determination of muscle fiber type is related to the developmental stage of the tissue. Ordinarily the final distribution of fast and slow fibers in a muscle is determined postnatally. Tongue muscle, however, is composed solely of fast-twitch fibers that express only troponin C fast mRNA and fast (type II) myosin heavy chain (MHC) proteins in both the adult and the one-day-old mouse. The fiber-type determination of this muscle was examined during fetal development. Both troponin C fast and slow mRNAs were expressed at initial stages of tongue development at embryonic day 18. However, by embryonic day 16 the troponin C fast transcripts predominated. AT 17 days of embryonic development, TnC fast mRNA was 10 times more abundant than TnC slow, and at 18 days of development the TnC slow mRNA was barely detectable. The tongue muscle myotubes expressed fast, slow, and embryonic MHC isoforms during early embryonic development. At 18 days of gestation, the MHC isoform expressed by the majority of the myotubes was the fast isoform, whereas the slow isoform was present in very few fibers. RT-PCR analysis of the MHC transcripts present throughout tongue development demonstrated expression of the mdms or type IIx MHC in both late fetal and postnatal stages of development. In contrast, the type I/beta slow MHC mRNA was undetectable in the postnatal and adult tongue. The absence of TnC and MHC slow-isoform mRNAs in the newborn mouse tongue suggests that slow isoform genes become dominantly repressed with the TnC-F and MHC type IIx genes remaining transcriptionally active, giving rise to an unusually homogeneous fast-twitch phenotype. The tongue muscle fibers acquire their specific adult-type fiber characteristics during fetal development rather than postnatally.