Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

BMC Genomics






BioMed Central

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In food animal agriculture, there is a need to identify the mechanisms that can improve the efficiency of muscle growth and protein accretion. Callipyge sheep provide excellent machinery since the up-regulation of DLK1 and RTL1 results in extreme postnatal muscle hypertrophy in distinct muscles. The aim of this study is to distinguish the genes that directly respond to DLK1 and RTL1 signaling from the genes that change as the result of muscle specific effects.


The quantitative PCR results indicated that DLK1 expression was significantly increased in hypertrophied muscles but not in non-hypertrophied muscles. However, RTL1 was up-regulated in both hypertrophied and non-hypertrophied muscles. Five genes, including PARK7, DNTTIP1, SLC22A3, METTL21E and PDE4D, were consistently co-expressed with DLK1, and therefore were possible transcriptional target genes responding to DLK1 signaling. Treatment of myoblast and myotubes with DLK1 protein induced an average of 1.6-fold and 1.4-fold increase in Dnttip1 and Pde4d expression respectively. Myh4 expression was significantly elevated in DLK1-treated myotubes, whereas the expression of Mettl21e was significantly increased in the DLK1-treated myoblasts but reduced in DLK1-treated myotubes. DLK1 treatment had no impact on Park7 expression. In addition, Park7 and Dnttip1 increased Myh4 and decreased Myh7 promoter activity, resemble to the effects of Dlk1. In contrast, expression of Mettl21e increased Myh7 and decreased Myh4 luciferase activity.


The study provided additional supports that RTL1 alone was insufficient to induce muscle hypertrophy and concluded that DLK1 was likely the primary effector of the hypertrophy phenotype. The results also suggested that DNTTIP1 and PDE4D were secondary effector genes responding to DLK1 signaling resulting in muscle fiber switch and muscular hypertrophy in callipyge lamb.

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