Hedgehog acts directly on the zebrafish dermomyotome to promote myogenic differentiation

Dev Biol. 2006 Dec 15;300(2):736-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.08.056. Epub 2006 Aug 30.


Vertebrate myogenesis is regulated by signaling proteins secreted from surrounding tissues. One of the most important, Sonic hedgehog, has been proposed to regulate myogenic precursor cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation in a variety of vertebrates. In zebrafish, Hedgehog signaling is both necessary and sufficient for the development of embryonic slow muscle fibers-the earliest differentiating muscle fibers. Here we investigated the function of Hedgehog signaling in another zebrafish myogenic lineage, a dermomyotomal population of cells defined by somitic pax3/7 expression. We found that Hedgehog negatively regulates the number of myogenic precursors expressing pax3/7. Hh also positively regulates the growth of embryonic fast muscle. Unlike Hedgehog's function in regulating the elongation of fast muscle fibers, this regulation is not mediated by embryonic slow muscle fibers. Instead, it is a direct Hedgehog response, cell autonomous to myogenic precursors. The regulation of myogenic precursors and their differentiation into fast fibers have a different critical time period for Hh signaling, and different requirements for specific gli gene family members of Hh activated transcription factors from the earlier promotion of embryonic slow muscle fiber differentiation. We propose that Hedgehog signaling acts at multiple times on different lineages, through different downstream pathways, to promote myogenic differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Hedgehog Proteins / physiology*
  • Muscle Development / physiology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myoblasts / cytology
  • Myoblasts / metabolism
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor / biosynthesis
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Zebrafish / embryology
  • Zebrafish / genetics


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • PAX7 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors