The chicken embryo as an efficient model to test the function of muscle fusion genes in amniotes.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28520772

Sieiro D, Véron N, Marcelle C. The chicken embryo as an efficient model to test the function of muscle fusion genes in amniotes. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(5):e0177681.
The fusion of myoblasts into multinucleated myotubes is a crucial step of muscle growth during development and of muscle repair in the adult. While multiple genes were shown to play a role in this process, a vertebrate model where novel candidates can be tested and analyzed at high throughput and relative ease has been lacking. Here, we show that the early chicken embryo is a fast and robust model in which functional testing of muscle fusion candidate genes can be performed. We have used known modulators of muscle fusion, Rac1 and Cdc42, along with the in vivo electroporation of integrated, inducible vectors, to show that the chicken embryo is a suitable model in which their function can be tested and quantified. In addition to nuclei content, specific characteristics of the experimental model allow a fine characterization of additional morphological features that are nearly impossible to assess in other model organisms. This study should establish the chicken embryo as a cheap, reliable and powerful model in which novel vertebrate muscle fusion candidates can be evaluated.