Myostatin deficiency leads in skeletal muscle overgrowth but the precise molecular mechanisms underlying this hypertrophy are not well understood. In this study, to gain insight into the role of endogenous myostatin in the translational regulation, we used an in vitro model of cultured satellite cells derived from myostatin knock-out mice. Our results show that myostatin knock-out myotubes are larger than control myotubes and that this phenotype is associated with an increased activation of the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, a known regulator of muscle hypertrophy. These results demonstrate that hypertrophy due to myostatin deficiency is preserved in vitro and suggest that myostatin deletion results in an increased protein synthesis. Accordingly, the rates of global RNA content, polysome formation and protein synthesis are all increased in myostatin-deficient myotubes while they are counteracted by the addition of recombinant myostatin. We furthermore demonstrated that genetic deletion of myostatin stimulates cap-dependent translation by positively regulating assembly of the translation preinitiation complex. Together the data indicate that myostatin controls muscle hypertrophy in part by regulating protein synthesis initiation rates, that is, translational efficiency. J. Cell. Biochem. 112: 3531–3542, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.