A clonal analysis was used to show that skeletal muscle myoblasts are committed to distinct cell lineages during development. Myoblasts taken from embryonic chicken hindlimb muscles of different ages were cultured at clonal density. The content of fast and slow classes of the myosin heavy chain isoforms in the myotubes of the resulting muscle colonies was determined immunocytochemically with specific monoclonal antibodies that served as markers for the different fiber types. The muscle colonies formed by cloning myoblasts from early hindlimbs (days 4-6 in ovo) were of three types: the most numerous type, in which all myotubes in a colony contained only the fast class of myosin heavy chain; a less numerous type, in which all myotubes in a colony contained both the fast and slow classes of myosin heavy chain isoforms; and a rare type, in which all myotubes in a colony contained only the slow class of myosin heavy chain. The muscle colonies formed by cloning myoblasts from later hindlimbs (days 10-12 in ovo) were, however, all of one type, in which every myotube in a colony contained only fast myosin heavy chain. Thus, myoblasts in the early embryo (days 4-6 in ovo) were a heterogeneous population committed to three myogenic lineages: fast, mixed fast/slow, and slow, whereas myoblasts from the later embryo (days 10-12 in ovo) were only in the fast myogenic lineage. These results suggest that muscle fiber formation is rooted in two developmental phases--an early phase in which diverse fiber types are formed from intrinsically diverse populations of myoblasts and a later phase in which fibers are formed from a single population of myoblasts.
View details for Web of Science ID A1986C590700063
View details for PubMedID 3520558
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC323624