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Systematic transcriptomics reveals a biphasic mode of sarcomere morphogenesis in flight muscles regulated by Spalt

By Maria L Spletter, Christiane Barz, Assa Yeroslaviz, Xu Zhang, Sandra B. Lemke, Erich Brunner, Giovanni Cardone, Konrad Basler, Bianca H Habermann, Frank Schnorrer

Posted 05 Dec 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/229534 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.34058)

Muscles organise pseudo-crystalline arrays of actin, myosin and titin filaments to build force-producing sarcomeres. To study how sarcomeres are built, we performed transcriptome sequencing of developing Drosophila flight muscles and identified 40 distinct expression profile clusters. Strikingly, two clusters are strongly enriched for sarcomeric components. Temporal gene expression together with detailed morphological analysis enabled us to define two distinct phases of sarcomere development, which both require the transcriptional regulator Spalt major. During the sarcomere formation phase, 1.8 micrometer long immature sarcomeres assemble myofibrils that spontaneously contract. During the sarcomere maturation phase, these sarcomeres grow to their final 3.2 micrometer length and 1.5 micrometer diameter and acquire stretch-sensitivity. Interestingly, the final number of myofibrils per flight muscle fiber is determined at the onset of the first phase. Together, this defines a biphasic mode of sarcomere and myofibril morphogenesis - a new concept that may also apply to vertebrate muscle or heart development.

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