The myoD gene converts many differentiated cell types into muscle. MyoD is a member of the basic-helix-loop-helix family of proteins; this 68-amino acid domain in MyoD is necessary and sufficient for myogenesis. MyoD binds cooperatively to muscle-specific enhancers and activates transcription. The helix-loop-helix motif is responsible for dimerization, and, depending on its dimerization partner, MyoD activity can be controlled. MyoD senses and integrates many facets ofcell state. MyoD is expressed only in skeletal muscle and its precursors; in nonmuscle cells myoD is repressed by specific genes. MyoD activates its own transcription; this may stabilize commitment to myogenesis.
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