The 67-kD serum response factor (p67SRF) is a ubiquitous nuclear transcription factor that acts by direct binding to a consensus DNA sequence, the serum response element (SRE), present in the promoter region of numerous genes. Although p67SRF was initially implicated in the activation of mitogen-stimulated genes, the identification of a sequence similar to SRE, the CArG box motif, competent to interact with SRE binding factors in many muscle-specific genes, has led to speculation that, in addition to its function in cell proliferation, p67SRF may play a role in muscle differentiation. Indirect immunofluorescence using affinity-purified antibodies specifically directed against p67SRF reveals that this factor is constitutively expressed and localized in the nucleus of two skeletal muscle cell lines: rat L6 and mouse C2 myogenic cells during myogenic differentiation. This result was further confirmed through immunoblotting and Northern blot analysis. Furthermore, specific inhibition of p67SRF in vivo through microinjection of purified p67SRF antibodies prevented the myoblast-myotube transition and the expression of muscle-specific genes such as the protein troponin T. We further showed that anti-p67SRF injection also inhibited the expression of the myogenic factor myogenin, implying an early requirement for p67SRF in muscle differentiation. These results demonstrate that p67SRF is involved in the process of skeletal muscle differentiation. The potential action of p67SRF via CArG sequences is discussed.

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