We prepared monoclonal antibodies specific for fast or slow classes of myosin heavy chain isoforms in the chicken and used them to probe myosin expression in cultures of myotubes derived from embryonic chicken myoblasts. Myosin heavy chain expression was assayed by gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting of extracted myosin and by immunostaining of cultures of myotubes. Myotubes that formed from embryonic day 5-6 pectoral myoblasts synthesized both a fast and a slow class of myosin heavy chain, which were electrophoretically and immunologically distinct, but only the fast class of myosin heavy chain was synthesized by myotubes that formed in cultures of embryonic day 8 or older myoblasts. Furthermore, three types of myotubes formed in cultures of embryonic day 5-6 myoblasts: one that contained only a fast myosin heavy chain, a second that contained only a slow myosin heavy chain, and a third that contained both a fast and a slow heavy chain. Myotubes that formed in cultures of embryonic day 8 or older myoblasts, however, were of a single type that synthesized only a fast class of myosin heavy chain. Regardless of whether myoblasts from embryonic day 6 pectoral muscle were cultured alone or mixed with an equal number of myoblasts from embryonic day 12 muscle, the number of myotubes that formed and contained a slow class of myosin was the same. These results demonstrate that the slow class of myosin heavy chain can be synthesized by myotubes formed in cell culture, and that three types of myotubes form in culture from pectoral muscle myoblasts that are isolated early in development, but only one type of myotube forms from older myoblasts; and they suggest that muscle fiber formation probably depends upon different populations of myoblasts that co-exist and remain distinct during myogenesis.
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View details for PubMedID 3902852