The terminal differentiation of mammalian muscle cells requires the tumor suppressor retinoblastoma protein (Rb). Unlike their wild-type counterparts, multinucleated myotubes from mouse cells deficient in Rb (Rb-/-) were induced by serum to reenter the cell cycle. Development of the myogenic phenotype in Rb-/- cells correlated with increased expression of p107, which interacted with myogenic transcription factors. Serum-induced cell cycle reentry, on the other hand, correlated with decreased p107 expression. Thus, although p107 could substitute for Rb as a cofactor for differentiation, it could not maintain the terminally differentiated state in Rb-/- myotubes.
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