Primary cultures and tissue samples of chicken embryonic muscle were immunologically probed for the expression of muscle-specific proteins, such as myosin heavy chain and the tropomyosins, as well as for the nuclear lamina protein, lamin A. As determined by quantitative immunoblotting, the expression of lamin A and the muscle-specific proteins were at low levels or absent in predifferentiation myoblasts both in vitro and in ovo. During differentiation, an increase of lamin A expression preceded the induction to high levels of expression of muscle-specific proteins. Immunofluorescence staining of chicken embryonic muscle cells in culture also indicates an accumulation of lamin A before the induction of muscle-specific proteins expression. Furthermore, the accumulation of lamin A reached a plateau before the muscle-specific proteins during muscle development. In two dimensional NEPHGE gel analysis of immunoprecipitated lamin A, no detectable change in the ratio of the acidic/basic isoelectric variants of lamin A was observed during myogenesis. A potential role for lamin A in the mechanisms which underlie the differential and coordinate expression of muscle-specific genes is proposed.

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