Table of Contents
ISRN Developmental Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 713631, 15 pages
Review Article

Cytoskeleton and Adhesion in Myogenesis

Laboratório de Diferenciação Muscular e Citoesqueleto, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Received 27 January 2014; Accepted 2 March 2014; Published 15 April 2014

Academic Editors: M. Behra, A. Grimaldi, and J. R. Jessen

Copyright © 2014 Manoel Luís Costa. 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.


The function of muscle is to contract, which means to exert force on a substrate. The adaptations required for skeletal muscle differentiation, from a prototypic cell, involve specialization of housekeeping cytoskeletal contracting and supporting systems into crystalline arrays of proteins. Here I discuss the changes that all three cytoskeletal systems (microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules) undergo through myogenesis. I also discuss their interaction, through the membrane, to extracellular matrix and to other cells, where force will be exerted during contraction. The three cytoskeletal systems are necessary for the muscle cell and must exert complementary roles in the cell. Muscle is a responsive system, where structure and function are integrated: the structural adaptations it undergoes depend on force production. In this way, the muscle cytoskeleton is a portrait of its physiology. I review the cytoskeletal proteins and structures involved in muscle function and focus particularly on their role in myogenesis, the process by which this incredible muscle machine is made. Although the focus is on skeletal muscle, some of the discussion is applicable to cardiac and smooth muscle.