The differentiation of troponin (TN) in cardiac and skeletal muscles of chicken embryos was studied by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy. Serial sections of embryos were stained with antibodies specific to TN components (TN-T, -I, and -C) from adult chicken cardiac and skeletal muscles. Cardiac muscle began to be stained with antibodies raised against cardiac TN components in embryos after stage 10 (Hamburger and Hamilton numbering, 1951, J. Morphol. 88:49-92). It reacted also with antiskeletal TN-I from stage 10 to hatching. Skeletal muscle was stained with antibodies raised against skeletal TN components after stage 14. It also reacted with anticardiac TN-T and C from stage C from stage 14 to hatching. It is concluded that, during embryonic development, cardiac muscle synthesizes TN-T and C that possess cardiac-type antigenicity and TN-I that has antigenic determinants similar to those present in cardiac as well as in skeletal muscles. Embryonic skeletal muscle synthesizes TN-I that possesses antigenicity for skeletal muscle and TN-T and C which share the antigenicities for both cardiac and skeletal muscles. Thus, in the development of cardiac and skeletal muscles, a process occurs in which the fiber changes its genomic programming: it ceases synthesis of the TN components that are immunologically indistinguishable from one another and synthesizes only tissue-type specific proteins after hatching.

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