Rewiring of an ancestral Tbx1/10-Ebf-Mrf network for pharyngeal muscle specification in distinct embryonic lineages. Academic Article uri icon


  • Skeletal muscles arise from diverse embryonic origins in vertebrates, yet converge on extensively shared regulatory programs that require muscle regulatory factor (MRF)-family genes. Myogenesis in the tail of the simple chordate Ciona exhibits a similar reliance on its single MRF-family gene, and diverse mechanisms activate Ci-Mrf Here, we show that myogenesis in the atrial siphon muscles (ASMs) and oral siphon muscles (OSMs), which control the exhalant and inhalant siphons, respectively, also requires Mrf We characterize the ontogeny of OSM progenitors and compare the molecular basis of Mrf activation in OSM versus ASM. In both muscle types, Ebf and Tbx1/10 are expressed and function upstream of Mrf However, we demonstrate that regulatory relationships between Tbx1/10, Ebf and Mrf differ between the OSM and ASM lineages. We propose that Tbx1, Ebf and Mrf homologs form an ancient conserved regulatory state for pharyngeal muscle specification, whereas their regulatory relationships might be more evolutionarily variable.

publication date

  • October 15, 2016