Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: UTILIZING GENETICS FOR ENHANCING COOL AND COLD WATER AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION

Location: Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture Research

Title: A proposed nomenclature consensus for the myostatin gene family

Authors
item Rodgers, Buel - DEPT OF ANIMAL SCIENCES
item Roalson, Eric - SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIE
item Weber, Gregory
item Roberts, Steven - MARINE BIOLOGICAL LAB
item Goetz, Frederick - GREAT LAKES WATER INSTITU

Submitted to: American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2006
Publication Date: September 26, 2006
Citation: Rodgers, B.D., Roalson, E.H., Weber, G.M., Roberts, S.B., Goetz, F.W. 2006. A proposed nomenclature consensus for the myostatin gene family. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism 292:371-372.

Interpretive Summary: Myostatin is a growth factor belonging to the transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) super family discovered in 1997. Mutations in the myostatin gene blocking its function (null phenotype) results in great increases in muscle mass in mammals. Myostatins negative effects on skeletal muscle mass have understandably captivated many biomedical, agricultural and comparative biologists as the gains in muscle mass associated with the myostatin null phenotype have never been reproduced by the administration of growth promoters. The potential benefit of reproducing these effects in the clinic or in animal feed lots are obvious and cannot be overestimated. Relieving myostatin’s restrictive effects on skeletal muscle growth and development could revolutionize the clinical treatment of different muscle growth disorders including some muscular dystrophies and has the potential to significantly enhance the production of meat animal products as well. However, myostatin’s functions are poorly defined in non-mammalian vertebrates and may be quite different in the fishes where there are up to four different myostatin genes whose expression or mRNA levels are found to vary among different types of tissues. This is in stark contrast to mammals where myostatin mRNA expression is limited primarily to skeletal muscle and suggests that its functions in fish may be as diverse as its expression pattern. Thus, animal scientists and comparative biologists alike are greatly interested in extrapolating information between different animal models. This has proven quite difficult, however, as the current nomenclature for members of this TGFbeta subfamily is often confusing and sometimes problematic, including the use of the less common name, GDF-8. We propose a revised nomenclature that uses “myostatin” over “GDF-8” and is based solely on the phylogenetic analysis. The implementation of the revised nomenclature will eliminate confusion over ambiguous terms and thereby increase the value of all research reports to the diverse disciplines interested in myostatin.

Technical Abstract: Since its discovery in 1997, myostatin and its negative effects on skeletal muscle mass have understandably captivated many biomedical, agricultural and comparative biologists as the gains in muscle mass associated with the myostatin null phenotype have never been reproduced by the administration of growth promoters. The potential benefit of reproducing these effects in the clinic or in animal feed lots are obvious and cannot be overestimated. Relieving myostatin’s restrictive effects on skeletal muscle growth and development could revolutionize the clinical treatment of different muscle growth disorders including some muscular dystrophies and has the potential to significantly enhance the production of meat animal products as well. However, myostatin’s functions are poorly defined in non-mammalian vertebrates and may be quite different in the fishes where multiple gene copies are differentially expressed in many tissues. This is in stark contrast to mammals where myostatin expression is limited primarily to skeletal muscle and suggests that its functions in fish may be as diverse as its expression pattern. Thus, animal scientists and comparative biologists alike are greatly interested in extrapolating information between different animal models. This has proven quite difficult, however, as the current nomenclature for members of this TGFbeta subfamily is often confusing and sometimes problematic including the use of the less common name GDF-8. We propose a revised nomenclature that uses “myostatin” over “GDF-8”, and is based solely on phylogenetic analysis. The nomenclature includes MSTN–1 and –2 genes in most fish species and MSTN–1a, –1b, –2a and –2b specifically in the salmonids.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page