Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 63 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Bijan K Dey

Committee Members

Melinda Larsen, Paolo Forni


microRNA, Muscle, Myogenesis, Stem Cell, Muscle cells, Musculoskeletal system, MicroRNA, Non-coding RNA, Cell differentiation

Subject Categories

Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Molecular Biology


Skeletal muscle plays a crucial role in coordinating voluntary movement and accounts for nearly 50% of total body mass. Dysregulation in skeletal muscle development is known to cause muscle degenerative diseases including the devastating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The majority of the biological studies investigating muscle development were based on myogenic transcription factors and signaling molecules including: Pax7, Myf5, MyoD, WNT, TGF-β and BMP. After the discovery of non-coding RNAs including microRNAs, it was postulated that these molecules could regulate gene expression and thus affect differentiation and development. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs (~17-25 nucleotides) that regulate gene expression negatively either by repressing translation or degrading mRNA. MicroRNAs play essential roles in diverse biological processes including differentiation, development, and disease. The goal of my project is to determine the role of miR-322 in skeletal muscle differentiation. We show that miR-322 is upregulated during skeletal muscle differentiation. miR-322 promotes skeletal muscle differentiation by directly targeting and downregulating high mobility protein, HMGA1. HMGA1 is a myogenic repressor and is downregulated during muscle differentiation. The future goal of this project is to determine the role of miR-322 in skeletal muscle regeneration in vivo using an established mouse model of regeneration.