It has been suggested, on the basis of immunolocalization studies in vivo and antibody blocking experiments in vitro, that α4 integrins interacting with vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) are involved in myogenesis and skeletal muscle development. To test this proposal, we generated embryonic stem (ES) cells homozygous null for the gene encoding the α4 subunit and used them to generate chimeric mice. These chimeric mice showed high contributions of α4-null cells in many tissues, including skeletal muscle, and muscles lacking any detectable (<2%) α4-positive cells did not reveal any gross morphological abnormalities. Furthermore, assays for in vitro myogenesis using either pure cultures of α4-null myoblasts derived from the chimeras or α4-null ES cells showed conclusively that α4 integrins are not essential for muscle cell fusion and differentiation. Taking these results together, we conclude that α4 integrins appear not to play essential roles in normal skeletal muscle development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology