Mef2 and the skeletal muscle differentiation program

Michael V. Taylor, Simon M. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)
248 Downloads (Pure)


Mef2 is a conserved and significant transcription factor in the control of muscle gene expression. In cell culture Mef2 synergises with MyoD-family members in the activation of gene expression and in the conversion of fibroblasts into myoblasts. Amongst its in vivo roles, Mef2 is required for both Drosophila muscle development and mammalian muscle regeneration. Mef2 has functions in other cell-types too, but this review focuses on skeletal muscle and surveys key findings on Mef2 from its discovery, shortly after that of MyoD, up to the present day. In particular, in vivo functions, underpinning mechanisms and areas of uncertainty are highlighted. We describe how Mef2 sits at a nexus in the gene expression network that controls the muscle differentiation program, and how Mef2 activity must be regulated in time and space to orchestrate specific outputs within the different aspects of muscle development. A theme that emerges is that there is much to be learnt about the different Mef2 proteins (from different paralogous genes, spliced transcripts and species) and how the activity of these proteins is controlled.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Early online date22 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2017


  • Skeletal muscle development
  • Mef2
  • Gene expression network
  • Differentiation
  • Regeneration
  • Alternative splicing
  • Protein interactions


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