Members of the myocyte enhancer binding factor-2 (MEF2) family of MADS (MCM1, agamous, deficiens, and serum response factor) box transcription factors are expressed in the skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle lineages of vertebrate and Drosophila embryos. These factors bind an adenine-thymidine-rich DNA sequence associated with muscle-specific genes. The function of MEF2 was determined by generating a loss-of-function of the single mef2 gene in Drosophila (D-mef2). In loss-of-function embryos; somatic, cardiac, and visceral muscle cells did not differentiate, but myoblasts were normally specified and positioned. These results demonstrate that different muscle cell, types share a common myogenic differentiation program controlled by MEF2.
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