MYF6 is a member of the myogenic factors (MYF) family that regulate myogenesis and muscle regeneration. Myogenics factor are basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. MYF-6 is a gene that encodes a protein involved in the regulation of myogenesis. Specifically, it induces the maturation of myotubes into myofibers. The portion of the protein integral to myogenesis regulation is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) domain that is conserved among all of the genes in the MRF family.
MYF-6 is expressed exclusively in skeletal muscle, and it is expressed at a higher levels in adult skeletal muscle than all of the other genes in the muscle regulatory factor factor gene family. MYF-6 is different from the other myogenic regulatory factor genes due to its two-phase expression. Initially, MYF-6 is transiently expressed along with MYF-5 in the somites during the early stages of myogenesis. However, it is primarily expressed postnatally. This suggests that it serves an important role in the maintenance and repair of adult skeletal muscle. The role of MYF-6 expression in the somites during embryogenesis is currently unknown.
The MYF-6 gene is physically linked to the MYF-5 gene on chromosome 12, and mutations in the MYF-6 gene typically exhibit reduced levels of MYF-5. Despite reductions in muscle mass of the back, MYF6 mutants still exhibit fairly normal skeletal muscle. While this demonstrates that MYF-6 might not be essential for the formation of myofibers, it is thought that myogenin compensates for the absence of functional MYF-6.
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