Positioning the expanded akirin gene family of Atlantic salmon within the transcriptional networks of myogenesis

Daniel J. Macqueen, Neil I. Bower, Ian Alistair Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebrate akirin genes usually form a family with one-to-three members that regulate gene expression during the innate immune response, carcinogenesis and myogenesis. We recently established that an expanded family of eight akirin genes is conserved across salmonid fish. Here, we measured mRNA levels of the akirin family of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) during the differentiation of primary myoblasts cultured from fast-skeletal muscle. Using hierarchical clustering and correlation, the data was positioned into a network of expression profiles including twenty further genes that regulate myogenesis. akirin1(2b) was not significantly regulated during the maturation of the cell culture. akirin2(1a) and 2(1b), along with IGF-II and several igfbps, were most highly expressed in mononuclear cells, then significantly and constitutively downregulated as differentiation proceeded and myotubes formed/matured. Conversely, akirin1(1a), 1(16), 1(2a), 2(2a) and 2(2b) were expressed at lowest levels when mononuclear cells dominated the culture and highest levels when confluent layers of myotubes were evident. However, akirin1(2a) and 2(2a) were first upregulated earlier than akirin1(1a), 1(1b) and 2(2b), when rates of myoblast proliferation were highest. Interestingly, akirin1(1b), 1(2a), 2(2a) and 2(2b) formed part of a module of co-expressed genes involved in muscle differentiation, including myod1a, myog, mef2a, 14-3-3 beta and 14-3-3 gamma. All akirin paralogues were expressed ubiquitously across ten tissues, although mRNA levels were regulated between cell-types and family members. Gene expression patterns were often highly correlated between akirin paralogues, suggesting that natural selection has maintained an intricate network of co-regulation among family members. We concluded that the Atlantic salmon akirin family performs a multifaceted role during myogenesis and has physiological functions spanning many cell-types. (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Early online date30 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • akirin gene family paralogues
  • Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)
  • Myogenesis
  • Gene paralogue regulation
  • PCR
  • MYOD


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