Open Access Research article

Glycogenome expression dynamics during mouse C2C12 myoblast differentiation suggests a sequential reorganization of membrane glycoconjugates

Mathilde Janot, Aymeric Audfray, Céline Loriol, Agnès Germot, Abderrahman Maftah* and Fabrice Dupuy

Author Affiliations

INRA, UMR 1061 Unité de Génétique Moléculaire Animale, Université de Limoges, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, 123 Avenue A. Thomas, 87060 Limoges, France

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BMC Genomics 2009, 10:483  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-483

Published: 20 October 2009



Several global transcriptomic and proteomic approaches have been applied in order to obtain new molecular insights on skeletal myogenesis, but none has generated any specific data on glycogenome expression, and thus on the role of glycan structures in this process, despite the involvement of glycoconjugates in various biological events including differentiation and development. In the present study, a quantitative real-time RT-PCR technology was used to profile the dynamic expression of 375 glycogenes during the differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts into myotubes.


Of the 276 genes expressed, 95 exhibited altered mRNA expression when C2C12 cells differentiated and 37 displayed more than 4-fold up- or down-regulations. Principal Component Analysis and Hierarchical Component Analysis of the expression dynamics identified three groups of coordinately and sequentially regulated genes. The first group included 12 down-regulated genes, the second group four genes with an expression peak at 24 h of differentiation, and the last 21 up-regulated genes. These genes mainly encode cell adhesion molecules and key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycans and glycolipids (neolactoseries, lactoseries and ganglioseries), providing a clearer indication of how the plasma membrane and extracellular matrix may be modified prior to cell fusion. In particular, an increase in the quantity of ganglioside GM3 at the cell surface of myoblasts is suggestive of its potential role during the initial steps of myogenic differentiation.


For the first time, these results provide a broad description of the expression dynamics of glycogenes during C2C12 differentiation. Among the 37 highly deregulated glycogenes, 29 had never been associated with myogenesis. Their biological functions suggest new roles for glycans in skeletal myogenesis.