Tbx6, Mesp-b and Ripply1 regulate the onset of skeletal myogenesis in zebrafish

Stefanie E Windner, Rosemarie A Doris, Chantal M Ferguson, Andrew C Nelson, Guillaume Valentin, Haihan Tan, Andrew C Oates, Fiona C Wardle, Stephen H Devoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


During embryonic development, the paraxial mesoderm becomes segmented into somites, within which proliferative muscle progenitors and muscle fibers establish the skeletal musculature. Here, we demonstrate that a gene network previously implicated in somite boundary formation, involving the transcriptional regulators Tbx6, Mesp-b and Ripply1, also confers spatial and temporal regulation to skeletal myogenesis in zebrafish. We show that Tbx6 directly regulates mesp-b and ripply1 expression in vivo, and that the interactions within the regulatory network are largely conserved among vertebrates. Mesp-b is necessary and sufficient for the specification of a subpopulation of muscle progenitors, the central proportion of the Pax3(+)/Pax7(+) dermomyotome. Conditional ubiquitous expression indicates that Mesp-b acts by inhibiting myogenic differentiation and by inducing the dermomyotome marker meox1. By contrast, Ripply1 induces a negative-feedback loop by promoting Tbx6 protein degradation. Persistent Tbx6 expression in Ripply1 knockdown embryos correlates with a deficit in dermomyotome and myotome marker gene expression, suggesting that Ripply1 promotes myogenesis by terminating Tbx6-dependent inhibition of myogenic maturation. Together, our data suggest that Mesp-b is an intrinsic upstream regulator of skeletal muscle progenitors and that, in zebrafish, the genes regulating somite boundary formation also regulate the development of the dermomyotome in the anterior somite compartment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1168
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge): for advances in developmental biology and stem cells
Issue number6
Early online date27 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2015


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