The location and regulation of fusion events within skeletal muscles during development remain unknown. Using the fusion marker myomaker (Mymk), named TMEM8C in chicken, as a readout of fusion, we identified a co-segregation of TMEM8C-positive cells and MYOG-positive cells in single-cell RNA-sequencing datasets of limbs from chicken embryos. We found that TMEM8C transcripts, MYOG transcripts and the fusion-competent MYOG-positive cells were preferentially regionalized in central regions of foetal muscles. We also identified a similar regionalization for the gene encoding the NOTCH ligand JAG2 along with an absence of NOTCH activity in TMEM8C+ fusion-competent myocytes. NOTCH function in myoblast fusion had not been addressed so far. We analysed the consequences of NOTCH inhibition for TMEM8C expression and myoblast fusion during foetal myogenesis in chicken embryos. NOTCH inhibition increased myoblast fusion and TMEM8C expression and released the transcriptional repressor HEYL from the TMEM8C regulatory regions. These results identify a regionalization of TMEM8C-dependent fusion and a molecular mechanism underlying the fusion-inhibiting effect of NOTCH in foetal myogenesis. The modulation of NOTCH activity in the fusion zone could regulate the flux of fusion events.

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