The muscle-specific enolase is an early marker of human myogenesis
In vertebrates, the glycolytic enzyme enolase (EC 18.104.22.168) is present as homodimers and heterodimers formed from three distinct subunits of identical molecular weight, alpha, beta, and gamma. We report the cloning and sequencing of a cDNA encoding the beta subunit of murine muscle-specific enolase. The corresponding amino acid sequence shows greater than 80% homology with the beta subunit from chicken obtained by protein sequencing and with alpha and gamma subunits from rat and mouse deduced from cloned cDNAs. In contrast, there is no homology between the 3' untranslated regions of mouse alpha, beta, and gamma enolase mRNAs, which also differ greatly in length. The short 3' untranslated region of beta enolase mRNA accounts for its distinct length, 1600 bases. It is known that a progressive transition from alpha alpha to beta beta enolase occurs in developing skeletal muscle. We show that this transition mainly results from a differential regulation of alpha and beta mRNA levels. Analysis of myogenic cell lines shows that beta enolase gene is expressed at the myoblast stage. Moreover, transfection of premyogenic C3H10T1/2 cells with MyoD1 cDNA shows that the initial expression of beta transcripts occurs during the very first steps of the myogenic pathway, suggesting that it could be a marker event of myogenic lineage determination.