Vertebrate Embryo: Myogenesis and Muscle Development

Abstract

The formation and patterning of three types of muscle tissues are found in vertebrates: smooth, cardiac and skeletal. All three muscle types share the property that they contract to move substances around the body (smooth and cardiac) or move and stabilise the skeleton (skeletal). Although there are common signalling pathways utilised by all muscle types, each utilises a unique pathway. The varied origins of myogenic cells and the important role of local signals coordinate the correct migration from their site of origin to final location. The local environmental signals also coordinate proliferation and expansion of myogenic precursors and finally the correct patterning, orientation and differentiation of myogenic cells. It is also evidenced that the environment continues to have an important role in the regenerative and growth of muscle tissue postnatally.

Key Concepts

  • That often the same signalling pathways are used independent of the phenotype of muscle being produced.
  • Although many different cell lineages are used to produce smooth muscle, cardiac and skeletal muscles use more specific cell lineages.
  • The environment that myogenic cells inhabit often helps to specify the early myogenic specification pathway and the later patterning of the differentiating myogenic cells into specific muscle groups and fibre types.
  • The regenerative capacity in the postnatal muscle tissue is also regulated by the environment.

Keywords: extracellular matrix; myogenesis; muscle development; stem cell niche; vertebrate muscle development

Figure 1. The hypaxial muscles delaminate from the myotome of the somite and migrate into body wall and limbs. The migratory myogenic cells are Pax3 and Pax7 positive but do not express any of the myogenic transcription factors. Within the developing limb, the myogenic cells undergo proliferation and expansion and start to now express Myf5 (Myf5+/−). As the cells become committed, they also express MyoD, it is not until the committed myogenic cells start to differentiate and fuse into myotubes that they start to express myogenin (MyoG). The satellite cells are formed early in the development of the musculature as the myogenic cells start to express Myf5. Unlike the committed myogenic cells that will differentiate, the satellite cells maintain the expression of Pax7. The satellite cells become quiescent and take up resident under the basal laminae of the muscle fibres.
Figure 2. Origins of the craniofacial myogenic cells is from the cranial paraxial mesoderm. The precursors of the extraocular muscle (red bars) are located more medially within the mesoderm. The precursors of first, second and third pharyngeal arches (blue bars) originate more laterally. The muscles of the larynx and tongue arise from the somitic mesoderm.
Figure 3. A simplified diagram of the resegmentation of the sclerotome to form the vertebra so the paraspinal muscles cross the vertebra. (a) The sclerotome will split into a smaller anterior one‐third and larger inferior two‐thirds. The sclertomal sections will reform to form the vertebra along the vertebral column, so that two sclertomal levels contribute to each vertebra. This allows the spinal nerves to exit between the vertebrae. The myotome does not split, and this results in the paraspinal muscles cross the intervertebral space and thus been able to move the vertebrae. (b) Very simplified diagram of the adult the paraspinal muscles shows how the interspinal, intertransversus and rotatores muscles that form from the myotome cross the vertebral levels.
Figure 4. The molecules involved with the specification of the regional location within the developing limb. Dorsal/ventral patterning is established by Wnt7a expression in the dorsal ectoderm of the limb (a) compared with engrailed expression in the ventral ectoderm. Within the dorsal mesenchyme of the limb, Wnt7a establishes Lmx1 expression. Members of the Hoxa and Hoxd family can be used to specify a proximal‐distal (b, Hoxa) or anterior–posterior (c, Hoxd). The superimposition of the three signalling pathways will create a specific location that will pattern the connective and myogenic cells in that region.
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Robson, Lesley G(Oct 2017) Vertebrate Embryo: Myogenesis and Muscle Development. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026598]