Deviation from proper muscle development or homeostasis results in various myopathic conditions. Employing genetic as well as chemical intervention, we provide evidence that a tight regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is essential for muscle fiber growth and maintenance. In zebrafish embryos, gain-of-Wnt/beta-catenin function results in unscheduled muscle progenitor proliferation, leading to slow and fast muscle hypertrophy accompanied by fast muscle degeneration. The effects of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling on fast muscle hypertrophy were rescued by misexpression of Myostatin or p21(CIP/WAF), establishing an in vivo regulation of myofibrillogenesis by Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and Myostatin. Epistatic analyses suggest a possible genetic interaction between Wnt/beta-catenin and Myostatin in regulation of slow and fast twitch muscle myofibrillogenesis.
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