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Liu C.,Xinjiang University | Liu C.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Laboratory of Grass Federal Animal Genetics | And 17 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2012

Myostatin [MSTN, also known as growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF8)], is an inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth. Blockade of MSTN function has been reported to result in increased muscle mass in mice. However, its role in myoblast differentiation in farm animals has not been determined. In the present study, we sought to determine the role of MSTN in the differentiation of primary sheep myoblasts. We found that ectopic overexpression of MSTN resulted in lower fusion index in sheep myoblasts, which indicated the repression of myoblast differentiation. This phenotypic change was reversed by shRNA knockdown of the ectopically expressed MSTN in the cells. In contrast, shRNA knockdown of the endogenous MSTN resulted in induction of myogenic differentiation. Additional studies revealed that the induction of differentiation by knocking down the ectopically or endogenously expressed MSTN was accompanied by up-regulation of MyoD and myogenin, and down-regulation of Smad3. Our results demonstrate that MSTN plays critical role in myoblast differentiation in sheep, analogous to that in mice. This study also suggests that shRNA knockdown of MSTN could be a potentially promising approach to improve sheep muscle growth, so as to increase meat productivity. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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