Alternate PAX3 and PAX7 C-terminal isoforms in myogenic differentiation and sarcomagenesis
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Objective - Pax3 and Pax7 are closely related genes that are involved in commitment of cells to a myogenic lineage during skeletal muscle development and regeneration. Several Pax3 and Pax7 transcripts are expressed from the genes, generating different isoforms with potentially distinct DNA binding and transactivation properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the implication of Pax3 and Pax7 C-terminal isoforms during myogenic differentiation and tumorigenesis, since fusions involving these genes are commonly associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS). Methods - Uncommitted (mouse mesenchymal stem cells, MSCs) and committed (C2C12) myogenic precursor cells were stably transfected with PAX3/FKHR and PAXC7/FKHR fusion genes. We analysed gene and protein expression comparing the newly generated cells with the parental cells, to determine the functional importance of Pax3 and Pax7 C-terminal isoforms. Results - We found that the transcript Pax3c was expressed at low levels in undifferentiated C2C12 and MSCs cells, but its expression levels increased considerably at later stages of differentiation. However, expression levels of Pax3d transcript increased only slightly after differentiation. Pax7 transcripts, present before differentiation in committed C2C12 cells, but absent in uncommitted MSCs, increased noticeably in MSCs after differentiation. We also found that the presence of PAX/FKHR fusions prevented both C2C12 and MSC cells from terminal myogenic differentiation and increased the expression of discrete endogenous Pax3/7 transcripts, in particular Pax3d and Pax7B. Conclusions Our results suggest that both Pax3 and Pax7 transcripts are required for commitment of cells to the myogenic lineage, with each transcript having a distinct role. More specifically, the Pax3c isoform may be required for terminal myogenic differentiation whereas the Pax3d isoform may be involved in undifferentiated cell maintenance and/or proliferation.