Activation of muscle-specific genes in pigment, nerve, fat, liver, and fibroblast cell lines by forced expression of MyoD.
MyoD is a master regulatory gene for myogenesis. Under the control of a retroviral long terminal repeat, MyoD was expressed in a variety of differentiated cell types by using either a DNA transfection vector or a retrovirus. Expression of muscle-specific proteins was observed in chicken, human, and rat primary fibroblasts and in differentiated melanoma, neuroblastoma, liver, and adipocyte lines. The ability of MyoD to activate muscle genes in a variety of differentiated cell lines suggests that no additional tissue-specific factors other than MyoD are needed to activate the downstream program for terminal muscle differentiation or that, if such factors exist, they are themselves activated by MyoD expression.