Myogenic regulatory factors: The orchestrators of myogenesis after 30 years of discovery

Hasan A. Asfour, Mohammed Z. Allouh, Raed S. Said

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


Prenatal and postnatal myogenesis share many cellular and molecular aspects. Myogenic regulatory factors are basic Helix-Loop-Helix transcription factors that indispensably regulate both processes. These factors (Myf5, MyoD, Myogenin, and MRF4) function as an orchestrating cascade, with some overlapped actions. Prenatally, myogenic regulatory factors are restrictedly expressed in somite-derived myogenic progenitor cells and their derived myoblasts. Postnatally, myogenic regulatory factors are important in regulating the myogenesis process via satellite cells. Many positive and negative regulatory mechanisms exist either between myogenic regulatory factors themselves or between myogenic regulatory factors and other proteins. Upstream factors and signals are also involved in the control of myogenic regulatory factors expression within different prenatal and postnatal myogenic cells. Here, the authors have conducted a thorough and an up-to-date review of the myogenic regulatory factors since their discovery 30 years ago. This review discusses the myogenic regulatory factors structure, mechanism of action, and roles and regulations during prenatal and postnatal myogenesis. Impact statement: Myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) are key players in the process of myogenesis. Despite a considerable amount of literature regarding these factors, their exact mechanisms of actions are still incompletely understood with several overlapped functions. Herein, we revised what has hitherto been reported in the literature regarding MRF structures, molecular pathways that regulate their activities, and their roles during pre- and post-natal myogenesis. The work submitted in this review article is considered of great importance for researchers in the field of skeletal muscle formation and regeneration, as it provides a comprehensive summary of all the biological aspects of MRFs and advances a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating myogenesis. Indeed, attaining a better understanding of MRFs could be utilized in developing novel therapeutic protocols for multiple myopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-128
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • MRF4
  • Myf5
  • MyoD
  • myoblasts
  • myogenic determination
  • myogenin
  • satellite cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Myogenic regulatory factors: The orchestrators of myogenesis after 30 years of discovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this