Regulation of skeletal muscle gene expression by p38 MAP kinases

Trends Cell Biol. 2006 Jan;16(1):36-44. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2005.11.002. Epub 2005 Dec 1.


The formation of skeletal muscle is a multistep process orchestrated by the basic helix-loop-helix myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs). A wide array of proteins can interact with the MRFs, resulting in either induction or repression of their myogenic potential and subsequent MRF-mediated muscle-specific transcription. Findings published over the past few years have unambiguously established a key role for the p38 MAP kinase pathway in the control of muscle gene expression at different stages of the myogenic process. Here, we discuss the mechanisms by which p38 MAP kinase controls skeletal muscle differentiation by regulating the sequential activation of MRFs and their transcriptional coactivators, including chromatin remodeling enzymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myogenic Regulatory Factors / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology*


  • Myogenic Regulatory Factors
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases