Distribution of myosin heavy chain mRNA in embryonic muscle tissue visualized by ultrastructural in situ hybridization

Marsha E. Pomeroy, Jeanne Bentley Lawrence, Robert H. Singer, Susan Billings-Gagliardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We have localized myosin heavy chain (MHC) mRNAs in cells of intact embryonic chick muscle using high resolution in situ hybridization. Blocks of muscle were aldehyde-fixed prior to detergent treatment and hybridized with a biotinated cDNA probe, followed by colloidal gold-labeled antibodies, before embedment. Labeling was determined to represent MHC mRNA by extensive quantitative comparisons of electron micrographs from experimental and four different types of control samples. MHC mRNA was localized primarily to peripheral regions of 14-day chick pectoral muscle cells, where the majority of developing myofibrils were found. MHC mRNAs were consistently associated with the nonmyofibrillar cytoskeletal filaments which had diameters ranging from 4 to 10 nm. They were often oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cell. The resolution of the ultrastructural approach allowed us to demonstrate that the mRNA molecules visualized were not directly associated with myofilaments, suggesting that nascent chains read from those messages do not assemble directly into myofilaments simultaneous with translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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