L6J1 rat myoblasts and rat skeletal muscle were studied for expression of mRNAs encoding PDGF A-chain, PDGF B-chain, PDGF alpha-receptor, and PDGF beta-receptor during in vitro and in vivo myoblast differentiation. RNA blot hybridizations demonstrated expression of the PDGF A-chain gene and the PDGF beta-receptor gene in L6J1 myoblasts and in crude muscle tissue isolated from developing rats. Transcripts of the PDGF A-chain were identified at all examined stages of in vitro and in vivo myogenic differentiation. Expression of the PDGF beta-receptor gene decreased in differentiated myotubes of L6J1 cells and in rat adult muscle tissue. Receptor binding assays demonstrated specific binding of PDGF-BB, but not -AA, to exponentially proliferating L6J1 myoblasts and to terminally differentiated L6J1 myotubes. The binding per cell nucleus was higher in exponentially proliferating myoblasts than in differentiated L6J1 myotubes. In serum free medium PDGF-BB was shown to increase c-fos protooncogene immunoreactivity in L6J1 myoblasts. In the presence of 0.5% FCS, PDGF-BB increased DNA synthesis in L6J1 myoblasts, while PDGF-AA showed no such effect. Differentiation, as monitored by myotube formation, was reduced in PDGF-BB-treated cultures. The possible role of PDGF in myoblast proliferation and differentiation is discussed.

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