Skeletal Muscle Differentiation and Epigenetics

Skeletal myogenesis is a well-characterized process, both as regards the developmental phases of muscle formation and the adult phase of muscle regeneration.

The commitment of mesodermal precursors to the myogenic lineage and the terminal differentiation of myoblasts into myofibers are regulated at multiple levels, ranging from pre-transcriptional to post-translational mechanisms.

Special attention is being paid to the diverse epigenetic strategies by which muscle-specific patterns of gene expression are generated and maintained.

Considerable evidence has been accumulated, showing that myogenic transcription factors, such as the prototypical pioneer factor MyoD, work in concert with chromatin modifiers in order to establish an open chromatin environment permissive for the transcriptional activation of muscle-specific genes.

More recently, genome-wide studies correlating transcription factor binding, 3D chromatin dynamics, and gene expression have provided further insight into the molecular events underlying the coordinate activation or repression of entire sets of genes during myogenesis. Despite the advances in our understanding of these complex processes, many aspects of the epigenetics of skeletal muscle differentiation remain to be elucidated.

This Special Issue will present a collection of recent original research papers and review articles in all areas of this field. Potential subjects include, but are not limited to, the identification and characterization of novel epigenetic players as well as of novel functional interactions of myogenic factors with chromatin-modifying enzymes, chromatin remodelers, regulatory noncoding RNAs, and chromatin architectural proteins.

Additional topics of interest are the roles of extracellular and intracellular signaling in the modulation of chromatin function and the dysregulation of epigenetic networks in skeletal muscle pathologies, with a view to developing new therapeutic approaches based on the manipulation of specific regulatory pathways.

   – Skeletal Muscle Differentiation and Epigenetics