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Open Access Open Badges Research article

NF-κB mediates the transcription of mouse calsarcin-1 gene, but not calsarcin-2, in C2C12 cells

Heng Wang12, Shulin Yang1, E Yang12, Zhengmao Zhu1, Yulian Mu1, Shutang Feng1 and Kui Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Gene and Cell Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100094, P. R. China

2 Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of the Ministry of Education of China, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, P. R. China

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BMC Molecular Biology 2007, 8:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-8-19

Published: 6 March 2007



The calsarcins comprise a novel family of muscle-specific calcineurin-interaction proteins that play an important role in modulating both the function and substrate specificity of calcineurin in muscle cells. The expression of calsarcin-1 (CS-1) is restricted to slow-twitch skeletal muscle fibres, whereas that of both calsarcin-2 (CS-2) and calsarcin-3 (CS-3) is enriched in fast-twitch fibres. However, the transcriptional control of this selective expression has not been previously elucidated.


Our real-time RT-PCR analyses suggest that the expression of CS-1 and CS-2 is increased during the myogenic differentiation of mouse C2C12 cells. Promoter deletion analysis further suggests that an NF-κB binding site within the CS-1 promoter is responsible for the up-regulation of CS-1 transcription, but no similar mechanism was evident for CS-2. These findings are further supported by the results of EMSA analysis, as well as by overexpression and inhibition experiments in which NF-κB function was blocked by treatment with its inhibitor, PDTC. In addition, the overexpression of NFATc4 induces both the CS-1 and CS-2 promoters, whereas MEF2C only activates CS-1.


Our present data suggest that NF-κB is required for the transcription of mouse CS-1 but not CS-2, and that the regulation of the calsarcins is mediated also by the NFAT and MEF2 transcription factors. These results provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms governing transcription in specific muscle fibre cells. The calsarcins may also serve as a valuable mechanistic tool to better understand the regulation of calcineurin signalling during muscle differentiation.