At least three slow myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms were expressed in skeletal muscles of the developing chicken hindlimb, and differential expression of these slow MHC isoforms produced distinct fiber types from the outset of skeletal muscle myogenesis. Immunohistochemistry with isoform-specific monoclonal antibodies demonstrated differences in MHC content among the fibers of the dorsal and ventral premuscle masses and distinctions among fibers before splitting of the premuscle masses into individual muscles (Hamburger and Hamilton Stage 25). Immunoblot analyses by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of myosin extracted from the hindlimb demonstrated the presence throughout development of different mobility classes of MHCs with epitopes associated with slow MHC isoforms. Immunopeptide mapping showed that one of the MHCs expressed in the embryonic limb was the same slow MHC isoform, slow MHC1 (SMHC1), that is expressed in adult slow muscles. SMHC1 was expressed in the dorsal and ventral premuscle masses, embryonic, fetal, and some neonatal and adult hindlimb muscles. In the embryo and fetus SMHC1 was expressed in future fast, as well as future slow muscles, whereas in the adult only the slow muscles retained expression of SMHC1. Those embryonic muscles destined in the adult to contain slow fibers or mixed fast/slow fibers not only expressed SMHC1, but also an additional slow MHC not previously described, designated as slow MHC3 (SMHC3). Slow MHC3 was shown by immunopeptide mapping to contain a slow MHC epitope (reactive with mAb S58) and to be structurally similar to a MHC expressed in the atria of the adult chicken heart. SMHC3 was designated as a slow MHC isoform because (i) it was expressed only in those muscles destined to be of the slow type in the adult, (ii) it was expressed only in primary fibers of muscles that subsequently are of the slow type, and (iii) it had an epitope demonstrated to be present on other slow, but not fast, isoforms of avian MHC. This study demonstrates that a difference in phenotype between fibers is established very early in the chicken embryo and is based on the fiber type-specific expression of three slow MHC isoforms.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JW69000012
View details for PubMedID 1426621