• cell fate determination;
  • differentiation;
  • ES cells;
  • HAT;
  • myogenin

Studies in tissue culture cells have implicated p300 and CBP acetyltransferases in myogenic regulatory factor (MRF) mediated transcription and terminal differentiation of skeletal muscle cells. However, in vivo data placing p300 and CBP on myogenic differentiation pathways are not yet available. In this report we provide genetic evidence that p300 but not CBP acetyltransferase (AT) activity is required for myogenesis in the mouse and in embryonic stem (ES) cells. A fraction of embryos carrying a single p300 AT- deficient allele exhibit impaired MRF expression, delayed terminal differentiation and a reduced muscle mass. In mouse embryos lacking p300 protein, Myf-5 induction is severely attenuated. Similarly, ES cells homozygous for a p300 AT or a p300 null mutation fail to activate Myf5 and MyoD transcription efficiently, while Pax3, acting genetically upstream of these MRFs, is expressed. In contrast, ES cells lacking CBP AT activity express MyoD and Myf5 and undergo myogenic differentiation. These data reveal a specific requirement for p300 and its AT activity in the induction of MRF gene expression and myogenic cell fate determination in vivo.