The transforming growth factor (TGF)-β inducible early gene (TIEG)-1 is implicated in the control of cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in some cell types. Since TIEG1 functioning may be associated with TGF-β, a suppressor of myogenesis, TIEG1 is also likely to be involved in myogenesis. Therefore, we investigated the function of TIEG1 during myogenic differentiation in vitro using the murine myoblasts cell line, C2C12. TIEG1 expression increased during differentiation of C2C12 cells. Constitutive expression of TIEG1 reduced survival and decreased myotube formation. Conversely, knocking down TIEG1 expression increased the number of viable cells during differentiation, and accelerated myoblast fusion into multinucleated myotubes. However, expression of the myogenic differentiation marker, myogenin, remained unaffected by TIEG1 knockdown. The mechanism underlying these events was investigated by focusing on the regulation of myoblast numbers after induction of differentiation. The knockdown of TIEG1 led to changes in cell cycle status and inhibition of apoptosis during the initial stages of differentiation. Microarray and real-time PCR analyses showed that the regulators of cell cycle progression were highly expressed in TIEG1 knockdown cells. Therefore, TIEG1 is a negative regulator of the myoblast pool that causes inhibition of myotube formation during myogenic differentiation.
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