Stau1 negatively regulates myogenic differentiation in C2C12 cells

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Sequential expression of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) such as MyoD and myogenin drives myogenic differentiation. Besides transcriptional activation of MRFs, this process is also coordinated by post-transcriptional regulation; MyoD and myogenin mRNAs are stabilized by RNA-binding protein HuR. Stau1 is known to regulate mRNA stability in a complex with Upf1, which is termed Stau1-mediated mRNA decay (SMD). We describe here that Stau1 is involved in the regulation of myogenesis. We found that knockdown of Stau1 promotes myogenesis including the expression of a muscle-specific marker protein, myoglobin, in C2C12 myoblasts. MyoD induces myogenin expression in response to induction of myogenesis, which is a key step to start myogenesis. The level of MyoD protein was not affected when Stau1 was depleted by siRNA, whereas the levels of myogenin mRNA and protein were increased in Stau1-knockdown cells. Interestingly, myogenin promoter activity was also increased in Stau1-knockdown cells in the absence of induction of myogenesis. Furthermore, Stau1-knockdown cells spontaneously progressed myogenesis including the expression of muscle-specific protein. Although Stau1 is involved in mRNA decay together with Upf1, Upf1-knockdown did not affect progression of myogenesis. Our results suggest that Stau1 negatively regulates myogenesis in C2C12 myoblasts through a mechanism that is different from SMD.

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