Lineage-based primary muscle fiber type diversification independent of MEF2 and NFAT in chick embryos
Skeletal muscle fiber type is regulated, in part, by innervation leading to transcriptional regulation of fiber type-specific genes. Here, we report the initial characterization of the transcriptional regulation of the slow myosin heavy chain 2 (MyHC2) promoter in innervated and noninnervated slow medial adductor (MA) and fast pectoralis major (PM) muscle fibers in cell culture. The proximal 1358 bp of slow MyHC2 upstream DNA contains a functional E-box and binding sites for myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Mutagenesis studies indicated that both MEF2 and NFAT binding sites are required for innervation-induced slow MyHC2 promoter activity in MA muscle fibers. However, MEF2 transcription factor activity was unaffected by innervation and did not demonstrate fiber type-specific interactions with the slow MyHC2 MEF2 binding site. NFAT transcription factor activity did increase in innervated MA muscle fibers and not in PM muscle fibers, indicating innervation and muscle fiber type-specific regulation. However, transfection of constitutively active NFAT indicated that NFAT is insufficient to induce slow MyHC2 gene expression in either fast PM or slow MA muscle fibers without innervation. These results indicate the requirement for MEF2 and NFAT in innervation-induced slow MyHC2 gene expression and suggest that additional innervation-dependent and fiber type-specific control of slow MyHC2 gene expression resides in MA and PM muscle fibers, respectively.