Exogenous expression of an alternative splicing variant of myostatin prompts leg muscle fiber hyperplasia in Japanese quail

Paula Renee Chen, Yeunsu Suh, Sangsu Shin, Rachel Marie Woodfint, Seongsoo Hwang, Kichoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Myostatin (MSTN) negatively regulates muscle growth and development through inhibiting myoblast proliferation and differentiation. Five alternative splicing isoforms of MSTN (MSTN-A to MSTN-E) have been discovered in domestic avian species. MSTN-A has high expression in skeletal muscle and encodes the full-length peptide with anti-myogenic activity. Another isoform, MSTN-B, is also highly expressed in skeletal muscle and encodes a truncated peptide that has pro-myogenic capabilities in vitro, which include promoting the proliferation and differentiation of quail muscle precursor cells. The objective of this study was to investigate overexpression of MSTN-B in vivo by using two independent lines of transgenic Japanese quail with expression directed in the skeletal muscle. Unexpectedly, the chicken skeletal muscle alpha actin 1 (cACTA1) promoter resulted in restricted exogenous MSTN-B protein expression to certain skeletal muscles, such as the gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior, but not the pectoralis major muscle. Gastrocnemius weight as a percentage of body weight in transgenic quail was increased compared to non-transgenic quail at posthatch day 21 (D21) and posthatch D42. An increase in the size of the gastrocnemius in transgenic quail was attributed to an increase in fiber number but not fiber cross-sectional area (CSA). During embryonic development, paired box 7 (PAX7) expression was prolonged in the transgenic embryos, but other myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) were unchanged after MSTN-B overexpression. Taken together, these data provide novel insights into the regulation of skeletal muscle development by alternative splicing mechanisms in avians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4617
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2019


  • Alternative splicing
  • Avian
  • Myostatin
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Transgenic


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