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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2012, Article ID 836374, 10 pages
Review Article

Turning on Myogenin in Muscle: A Paradigm for Understanding Mechanisms of Tissue-Specific Gene Expression

1Regenerative Medicine Program, Sprott Center for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5

Received 14 February 2012; Accepted 23 April 2012

Academic Editor: Lucia Latella

Copyright © 2012 Herve Faralli and F. Jeffrey Dilworth. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Expression of the myogenin (Myog) gene is restricted to skeletal muscle cells where the transcriptional activator turns on a gene expression program that permits the transition from proliferating myoblasts to differentiating myotubes. The strict temporal and spatial regulation on Myog expression in the embryo makes it an ideal gene to study the developmental regulation of tissue-specific expression. Over the last 20 years, our knowledge of the regulation of Myog expression has evolved from the identification of the minimal promoter elements necessary for the gene to be transcribed in muscle, to a mechanistic understanding of how the proteins that bind these DNA elements work together to establish transcriptional competence. Here we present our current understanding of the developmental regulation of gene expression gained from studies of the Myog gene.