Myostatin, a member of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily, is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth and development. Myostatin inhibition leads to increased skeletal muscle mass in mammals; hence, myostatin is considered a potential therapeutic target for skeletal muscle wasting. However, downstream molecules of myostatin in the skeletal muscle have not been fully elucidated. Here, we identified the Dlk1-Dio3 locus at the mouse chromosome 12qF1, also called as the callipyge locus in sheep, as a novel downstream target of myostatin. In skeletal muscle of myostatin knockout mice, the expression of mature miRNAs at the Dlk1-Dio3 locus was significantly increased. The increased miRNA levels are caused by the transcriptional activation of the Dlk1-Dio3 locus, because a significant increase in the primary miRNA transcript was observed in myostatin knockout mice. In addition, we found increased expression of coding and non-coding genes (Dlk1, Gtl2, Rtl1/Rtl1as, and Rian) at the Dlk1-Dio3 locus in myostatin-deficient skeletal muscle. Moreover, epigenetic changes, associated with the regulation of the Dlk1-Dio3 locus, were observed in myostatin knockout mice. Taken together, this is the first report demonstrating the role of myostatin in regulating the Dlk1-Dio3 (the callipyge) locus in the skeletal muscle.
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