Recombinant myostatin reduces highly expressed microRNAs in differentiating C2C12 cells

Zachary A. Graham, Rita De Gasperi, William A. Bauman, Christopher P. Cardozo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Myostatin is small glycopeptide that is produced and secreted by skeletal muscle. It is a potent negative regulator of muscle growth that has been associated with conditions of frailty. In C2C12 cells, myostatin limits cell differentiation. Myostatin acts through activin receptor IIB, activin receptor-like kinase (ALK) and Smad transcription factors. microRNAs (miRNA) are short, 22 base pair nucleotides that bind to the 3' UTR of target mRNA to repress translation or reduce mRNA stability. In the present study, expression in differentiating C2C12 cells of the myomiRs miR-1 and 133a were down-regulated following treatment with 1 µg of recombinant myostatin at 1 d post-induction of differentiation while all myomiRs (miR-1, 133a/b and 206) were upregulated by SB431542, a potent ALK4/5/7 inhibitor which reduces Smad2 signaling, at 1 d and all, with the exception of miR-206, were upregulated by SB431542 at 3 d. The expression of the muscle-enriched miR-486 was greater following treatment with SB431542 but not altered by myostatin. Other highly expressed miRNAs in skeletal muscle, miR-23a/b and 145, were altered only at 1 d post-induction of differentiation. miR-27b responded differently to treatments at 1 d, where it was upregulated, as compared to 3 d, where it was downregulated. Neither myostatin nor SB431542 altered cell size or cell morphology. The data indicate that myostatin represses myomiR expression in differentiating C2C12 cells and that inhibition of Smad signaling with SB431542 can result in large changes in highly expressed miRNAs in differentiating myoblasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemistry and Biophysics Reports
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Activin receptor-like kinase
  • Atrophy
  • MiRNA
  • Myogenic differentiation
  • MyomiR
  • Myostatin


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