Skeletal muscle differentiation is triggered by a unique family of myogenic basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, including MyoD, MRF-4, Myf-5, and Myogenin. These transcription factors bind promoters and distant regulatory regions, including E-box elements, of genes whose expression is restricted to muscle cells. Other E-box binding zinc finger proteins target the same DNA response elements, however, their function in muscle development and regeneration is still unknown. Here, we show that the transcription factor zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2 (Zeb2, Sip-1, Zfhx1b) is present in skeletal muscle tissues. We investigate the role of Zeb2 in skeletal muscle differentiation using genetic tools and transgenic mouse embryonic stem cells, together with single-cell RNA-sequencing and in vivo muscle engraftment capability. We show that Zeb2 over-expression has a positive impact on skeletal muscle differentiation in pluripotent stem cells and adult myogenic progenitors. We therefore propose that Zeb2 is a novel myogenic regulator and a possible target for improving skeletal muscle regeneration. The non-neural roles of Zeb2 are poorly understood.
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