How somitic cells become restricted to the muscle fate has been investigated on a number of levels. Classical embryological manipulations have attempted to define the source of inductive signals that control the formation of the myotome. Recently, these studies have converged with others dissecting the role of secreted proteins in embryonic patterning to demonstrate a role for specific peptides in inducing individual cell types of the myotome. Collectively, these investigations have implicated the products of the Wnt, Hedgehog (Hh) and Bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp) gene families as key myogenic regulators; simultaneously controlling both the initiation of myogenesis and the fate of individual myoblasts.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.