Myogenin (myog) encodes a highly conserved myogenic regulatory factor that is involved in terminal muscle differentiation. It has been shown in mammals that methylation of cytosines within the myog promoter plays a major role in regulating its transcription. In the present study, the Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) myog putative proximal promoter was identified and found to be highly conserved among teleosts. Therefore, it is plausible that it plays a similar role in controlling myog expression. Cytosine methylation of the myog promoter in skeletal muscle of Senegalese sole larvae undergoing metamorphosis was influenced by rearing temperature. A lower temperature (15 °C) significantly increased myog promoter methylation in skeletal muscle, particularly at specific CpG sites, relatively to higher rearing temperatures (18 and 21 °C). Myog transcription was downregulated at 15 °C, whereas expression of dnmt1 and dnmt3b was upregulated, consistently with the higher myog methylation observed at this temperature. Rearing temperature also affected growth and fast muscle cellularity, producing larger fibers at 21°C. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence of an epigenetic mechanism that may be underlying the temperature-induced phenotypic plasticity of muscle growth in teleosts.
Keywords: Solea senegalensis; epigenetic regulation; methylation; myogenesis; myogenin; thermal plasticity.