Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1114591)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Point Mutations in Human β Cardiac Myosin Heavy Chain Have Differential Effects on Sarcomeric Structure and Assembly: An ATP Binding Site Change Disrupts Both Thick and Thin Filaments, Whereas Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Mutations Display Normal Assembly 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;137(1):131-140.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a human heart disease characterized by increased ventricular mass, focal areas of fibrosis, myocyte, and myofibrillar disorganization. This genetically dominant disease can be caused by mutations in any one of several contractile proteins, including β cardiac myosin heavy chain (βMHC). To determine whether point mutations in human βMHC have direct effects on interfering with filament assembly and sarcomeric structure, full-length wild-type and mutant human βMHC cDNAs were cloned and expressed in primary cultures of neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRC) under conditions that promote myofibrillogenesis. A lysine to arginine change at amino acid 184 in the consensus ATP binding sequence of human βMHC resulted in abnormal subcellular localization and disrupted both thick and thin filament structure in transfected NRC. Diffuse βMHC K184R protein appeared to colocalize with actin throughout the myocyte, suggesting a tight interaction of these two proteins. Human βMHC with S472V mutation assembled normally into thick filaments and did not affect sarcomeric structure. Two mutant myosins previously described as causing human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, R249Q and R403Q, were competent to assemble into thick filaments producing myofibrils with well defined I bands, A bands, and H zones. Coexpression and detection of wild-type βMHC and either R249Q or R403Q proteins in the same myocyte showed these proteins are equally able to assemble into the sarcomere and provided no discernible differences in subcellular localization. Thus, human βMHC R249Q and R403Q mutant proteins were readily incorporated into NRC sarcomeres and did not disrupt myofilament formation. This study indicates that the phenotype of myofibrillar disarray seen in HCM patients which harbor either of these two mutations may not be directly due to the failure of the mutant myosin heavy chain protein to assemble and form normal sarcomeres, but may rather be a secondary effect possibly resulting from the chronic stress of decreased βMHC function.
PMCID: PMC2139848  PMID: 9105042
2.  Sarcomere Formation Occurs by the Assembly of Multiple Latent Protein Complexes 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(11):e1001208.
The stereotyped striation of myofibrils is a conserved feature of muscle organization that is critical to its function. Although most components that constitute the basic myofibrils are well-characterized biochemically and are conserved across the animal kingdom, the mechanisms leading to the precise assembly of sarcomeres, the basic units of myofibrils, are poorly understood. To gain insights into this process, we investigated the functional relationships of sarcomeric protein complexes. Specifically, we systematically analyzed, using either RNAi in primary muscle cells or available genetic mutations, the organization of myofibrils in Drosophila muscles that lack one or more sarcomeric proteins. Our study reveals that the thin and thick filaments are mutually dependent on each other for striation. Further, the tension sensor complex comprised of zipper/Zasp/α-actinin is involved in stabilizing the sarcomere but not in its initial formation. Finally, integrins appear essential for the interdigitation of thin and thick filaments that occurs prior to striation. Thus, sarcomere formation occurs by the coordinated assembly of multiple latent protein complexes, as opposed to sequential assembly.
Author Summary
Muscle functionality relies on the correct assembly of myofibrils, which are composed of tandem arrays of basic functional contractile units called the sarcomeres. Many mutations in genes encoding sarcomeric proteins cause muscle diseases such as congenital myopathy and dilated cardiac hypertrophy. Understanding the process of sarcomere assembly is not only relevant to the understanding of how protein complexes interact to form complex supra-molecular structures, but also of great significance to medicine for muscle diseases. Here, by taking advantage of our newly developed primary muscle cell culture method, we reevaluate sarcomere assembly by systematically analyzing the functional relationship of sarcomeric proteins using RNA interference or genetic ablation techniques. Our analysis leads us to propose a “two-state” model whereby sarcomeric proteins exist either in the “chaotic” state with independently assembled differential functional complexes or the “highly ordered suprastructure” state made from these complexes. Because we fail to detect any previously hypothesized sarcomere assembly intermediates in our system, our data support the model that sarcomere assembly is a highly coordinated process mediated by multiple latent protein complexes and does not occur in a step-wise fashion.
PMCID: PMC2987826  PMID: 21124995
3.  Disruption of a GATA4/Ankrd1 Signaling Axis in Cardiomyocytes Leads to Sarcomere Disarray: Implications for Anthracycline Cardiomyopathy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35743.
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) is an effective anti-cancer drug, but its clinical usage is limited by a dose-dependent cardiotoxicity characterized by widespread sarcomere disarray and loss of myofilaments. Cardiac ankyrin repeat protein (CARP, ANKRD1) is a transcriptional regulatory protein that is extremely susceptible to doxorubicin; however, the mechanism(s) of doxorubicin-induced CARP depletion and its specific role in cardiomyocytes have not been completely defined. We report that doxorubicin treatment in cardiomyocytes resulted in inhibition of CARP transcription, depletion of CARP protein levels, inhibition of myofilament gene transcription, and marked sarcomere disarray. Knockdown of CARP with small interfering RNA (siRNA) similarly inhibited myofilament gene transcription and disrupted cardiomyocyte sarcomere structure. Adenoviral overexpression of CARP, however, was unable to rescue the doxorubicin-induced sarcomere disarray phenotype. Doxorubicin also induced depletion of the cardiac transcription factor GATA4 in cardiomyocytes. CARP expression is regulated in part by GATA4, prompting us to examine the relationship between GATA4 and CARP in cardiomyocytes. We show in co-transfection experiments that GATA4 operates upstream of CARP by activating the proximal CARP promoter. GATA4-siRNA knockdown in cardiomyocytes inhibited CARP expression and myofilament gene transcription, and induced extensive sarcomere disarray. Adenoviral overexpression of GATA4 (AdV-GATA4) in cardiomyocytes prior to doxorubicin exposure maintained GATA4 levels, modestly restored CARP levels, and attenuated sarcomere disarray. Interestingly, siRNA-mediated depletion of CARP completely abolished the Adv-GATA4 rescue of the doxorubicin-induced sarcomere phenotype. These data demonstrate co-dependent roles for GATA4 and CARP in regulating sarcomere gene expression and maintaining sarcomeric organization in cardiomyocytes in culture. The data further suggests that concurrent depletion of GATA4 and CARP in cardiomyocytes by doxorubicin contributes in large part to myofibrillar disarray and the overall pathophysiology of anthracycline cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3332030  PMID: 22532871
4.  Myofibrillogenesis in living cells microinjected with fluorescently labeled alpha-actinin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1986;102(6):2053-2066.
Fluorescently labeled alpha-actinin, isolated from chicken gizzards, breast muscle, or calf brains, was microinjected into cultured embryonic myotubes and cardiac myocytes where it was incorporated into the Z-bands of myofibrils. The localization in injected, living cells was confirmed by reacting permeabilized myotubes and cardiac myocytes with fluorescent alpha-actinin. Both living and permeabilized cells incorporated the alpha-actinin regardless of whether the alpha-actinin was isolated from nonmuscle, skeletal, or smooth muscle, or whether it was labeled with different fluorescent dyes. The living muscle cells could beat up to 5 d after injection. Rest-length sarcomeres in beating myotubes and cardiac myocytes were approximately 1.9-2.4 microns long, as measured by the separation of fluorescent bands of alpha-actinin. There were areas in nearly all beating cells, however, where narrow bands of alpha-actinin, spaced 0.3-1.5 micron apart, were arranged in linear arrays giving the appearance of minisarcomeres. In myotubes, alpha-actinin was found exclusively in these closely spaced arrays for the first 2-3 d in culture. When the myotubes became contraction- competent, at approximately day 4 to day 5 in culture, alpha-actinin was localized in Z-bands of fully formed sarcomeres, as well as in minisarcomeres. Video recordings of injected, spontaneously beating myotubes showed contracting myofibrils with 2.3 microns sarcomeres adjacent to noncontracting fibers with finely spaced periodicities of alpha-actinin. Time sequences of the same living myotube over a 24-h period revealed that the spacings between the minisarcomeres increased from 0.9-1.3 to 1.6-2.3 microns. Embryonic cardiac myocytes usually contained contractile networks of fully formed sarcomeres together with noncontractile minisarcomeres in peripheral areas of the cytoplasm. In some cells, individual myofibrils with 1.9-2.3 microns sarcomeres were connected in series with minisarcomeres. Double labeling of cardiac myocytes and myotubes with alpha-actinin and a monoclonal antibody directed against adult chicken skeletal myosin showed that all fibers that contained alpha-actinin also contained skeletal muscle myosin. This was true whether alpha-actinin was present in Z-bands of fully formed sarcomeres or present in the closely spaced beads of minisarcomeres. We propose that the closely spaced beads containing alpha-actinin are nascent Z-bands that grow apart and associate laterally with neighboring arrays containing alpha-actinin to form sarcomeres during myofibrillogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2114264  PMID: 2423530
5.  Dynamic Alterations to α-Actinin Accompanying Sarcomere Disassembly and Reassembly during Cardiomyocyte Mitosis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129176.
Although mammals are thought to lose their capacity to regenerate heart muscle shortly after birth, embryonic and neonatal cardiomyocytes in mammals are hyperplastic. During proliferation these cells need to selectively disassemble their myofibrils for successful cytokinesis. The mechanism of sarcomere disassembly is, however, not understood. To study this, we performed a series of immunofluorescence studies of multiple sarcomeric proteins in proliferating neonatal rat ventricular myocytes and correlated these observations with biochemical changes at different cell cycle stages. During myocyte mitosis, α-actinin and titin were disassembled as early as prometaphase. α-actinin (representing the sarcomeric Z-disk) disassembly precedes that of titin (M-line), suggesting that titin disassembly occurs secondary to the collapse of the Z-disk. Sarcomere disassembly was concurrent with the dissolution of the nuclear envelope. Inhibitors of several intracellular proteases could not block the disassembly of α-actinin or titin. There was a dramatic increase in both cytosolic (soluble) and sarcomeric α-actinin during mitosis, and cytosolic α-actinin exhibited decreased phosphorylation compared to sarcomeric α-actinin. Inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) induced the quick reassembly of the sarcomere. Sarcomere dis- and re-assembly in cardiomyocyte mitosis is CDK1-dependent and features dynamic differential post-translational modifications of sarcomeric and cytosolic α-actinin.
PMCID: PMC4467976  PMID: 26076379
6.  The AP-1 Transcription Factor c-Jun Prevents Stress-Imposed Maladaptive Remodeling of the Heart 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73294.
Systemic hypertension increases cardiac workload and subsequently induces signaling networks in heart that underlie myocyte growth (hypertrophic response) through expansion of sarcomeres with the aim to increase contractility. However, conditions of increased workload can induce both adaptive and maladaptive growth of heart muscle. Previous studies implicate two members of the AP-1 transcription factor family, junD and fra-1, in regulation of heart growth during hypertrophic response. In this study, we investigate the function of the AP-1 transcription factors, c-jun and c-fos, in heart growth. Using pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy in mice and targeted deletion of Jun or Fos in cardiomyocytes, we show that c-jun is required for adaptive cardiac hypertrophy, while c-fos is dispensable in this context. c-jun promotes expression of sarcomere proteins and suppresses expression of extracellular matrix proteins. Capacity of cardiac muscle to contract depends on organization of principal thick and thin filaments, myosin and actin, within the sarcomere. In line with decreased expression of sarcomere-associated proteins, Jun-deficient cardiomyocytes present disarrangement of filaments in sarcomeres and actin cytoskeleton disorganization. Moreover, Jun-deficient hearts subjected to pressure overload display pronounced fibrosis and increased myocyte apoptosis finally resulting in dilated cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, c-jun but not c-fos is required to induce a transcriptional program aimed at adapting heart growth upon increased workload.
PMCID: PMC3769267  PMID: 24039904
7.  Early incorporation of obscurin into nascent sarcomeres: implication for myofibril assembly during cardiac myogenesis 
Histochemistry and cell biology  2008;129(4):463-478.
Obscurin is a recently identified giant multidomain muscle protein whose functions remain poorly understood. The goal of this study was to investigate the process of assembly of obscurin into nascent sarcomeres during the transition from non-striated myofibril precursors to striated structure of differentiating myofibrils in cell cultures of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Double immunofluorescent labeling and high resolution confocal microscopy demonstrated intense incorporation of obscurin in the areas of transition from non-striated to striated regions on the tips of developing myofibrils and at the sites of lateral fusion of nascent sarcomere bundles. We found that obscurin rapidly and precisely accumulated in the middle of the A-band regions of the terminal newly assembled half-sarcomeres in the zones of transition from the continuous, non-striated pattern of sarcomeric α-actinin distribution to cross-striated structure of laterally expanding nascent Z-discs. The striated pattern of obscurin typically ended at these points. This occurred before the assembly of morphologically differentiated terminal Z-discs of the assembling sarcomeres on the tips of growing myofibrils. The presence of obscurin in the areas of the terminal Z-discs of each new sarcomere was detected at the same time or shortly after complete assembly of sarcomeric structure. Many non-striated fibers with very low concentration of obscurin were already immunopositive for sarcomeric actin and myosin. This suggests that obscurin may serve for organization and alignment of myofilaments into the striated pattern. The comparison of obscurin and titin localization in these areas showed that obscurin assembly into the A-bands occurred soon after or concomitantly with incorporation of titin. Electron microscopy of growing myofibrils demonstrated intense formation and integration of myosin filaments into the “open” half-assembled sarcomeres in the areas of the terminal Z–I structures and at the lateral surfaces of newly formed, terminally located nascent sarcomeres. This process progressed before the assembly of the second-formed, terminal Z-discs of new sarcomeres and before the development of ultrastructurally detectable mature M-lines that define the completion of myofibril assembly, which supports the data of immunocytochemical study. Abundant non-aligned sarcomeres in immature myofibrils located on the growing tips were spatially separated and underwent the transition to the registered, aligned pattern. The sarcoplasmic reticulum, the organelle known to interact with obscurin, assembled around each new sarcomere. These results suggest that obscurin is directly involved in the proper positioning and alignment of myofilaments within nascent sarcomeres and in the establishment of the registered pattern of newly assembled myofibrils and the sarcoplasmic reticulum at advanced stages of myofibrillogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2761667  PMID: 18219491
Cardiac myocytes; Myofibrillogenesis; Myosin; Obscurin; Sarcomere; Sarcoplasmic reticulum; Z-disks
8.  Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: the interrelation of disarray, fibrosis, and small vessel disease 
Heart  2000;84(5):476-482.
OBJECTIVE—To make a quantitative assessment of the relation between disarray, fibrosis, and small vessel disease in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
DESIGN—Detailed macroscopic and histological examination at 19 segments of the left and right ventricle and the left atrial free wall.
PATIENTS—72 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who had suffered sudden death or progression to end stage cardiac failure (resulting in death or heart transplantation).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—The presence of scarring, atrial dilatation, and a mitral valve impact lesion were noted, and heart weight, wall thickness, per cent disarray, per cent fibrosis, and per cent small vessel disease quantitated for each heart.
RESULTS—Within an individual heart the magnitude of hypertrophy correlated with the severity of fibrosis (p = 0.006) and disarray (p = 0.0002). Overall, however, total heart weight related weakly but significantly to fibrosis (r = 0.4, p = 0.0001) and small vessel disease (r = 0.3, p = 0.03), but not to disarray. Disarray was greater in hearts with mild left ventricular hypertrophy (maximum wall thickness < 20 mm) and preserved systolic function (60.9 (26)% v 43 (20.4)% respectively, p = 0.02) and hearts without a mitral valve impact lesion (26.3% v 18.9%, p = 0.04), but was uninfluenced by sex. Fibrosis was influenced by sex (7% in male patients and 4% in female, p = 0.04), but not by the presence of an impact lesion. No relation was found between disarray, fibrosis, and small vessel disease.
CONCLUSIONS—Myocyte disarray is probably a direct response to functional or structural abnormalities of the mutated sarcomeric protein, while fibrosis and small vessel disease are secondary phenomena unrelated to disarray, but modified by factors such as left ventricular mass, sex, and perhaps local autocrine factors.

Keywords: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; histopathology; small vessel disease
PMCID: PMC1729476  PMID: 11040002
9.  The vinculin/sarcomeric-alpha-actinin/alpha-actin nexus in cultured cardiac myocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1992;117(5):1007-1022.
Experiments are described supporting the proposition that the assembly of stress fibers in non-muscle cells and the assembly of myofibrils in cardiac cells share conserved mechanisms. Double staining with a battery of labeled antibodies against membrane-associated proteins, myofibrillar proteins, and stress fiber proteins reveals the following: (a) dissociated, cultured cardiac myocytes reconstitute intercalated discs consisting of adherens junctions (AJs) and desmosomes at sites of cell-cell contact and sub-sarcolemmal adhesion plaques (SAPs) at sites of cell-substrate contact; (b) each AJ or SAP associates proximally with a striated myofibril, and conversely every striated myofibril is capped at either end by an AJ or a SAP; (C) the invariant association between a given myofibril and its SAP is especially prominent at the earliest stages of myofibrillogenesis; nascent myofibrils are capped by oppositely oriented SAPs; (d) the insertion of nascent myofibrils into AJs or into SAPs invariably involves vinculin, alpha-actin, and sarcomeric alpha-actinin (s-alpha-actinin); (e) AJs are positive for A- CAM but negative for talin and integrin; SAPs lack A-CAM but are positive for talin and integrin; (f) in cardiac cells all alpha-actinin- containing structures invariably are positive for the sarcomeric isoform, alpha-actin and related sarcomeric proteins; they lack non-s- alpha-actinin, gamma-actin, and caldesmon; (g) in fibroblasts all alpha- actinin-containing structures are positive for the non-sarcomeric isoform, gamma-actin, and related non-sarcomeric proteins, including caldesmon; and (h) myocytes differ from all other types of adherent cultured cells in that they do not assemble authentic stress fibers; instead they assemble stress fiber-like structures of linearly aligned I-Z-I-like complexes consisting exclusively of sarcomeric proteins.
PMCID: PMC2289484  PMID: 1577864
10.  Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: functional variance among individual cardiomyocytes as a trigger of FHC-phenotype development 
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) is the most frequent inherited cardiac disease. It has been related to numerous mutations in many sarcomeric and even some non-sarcomeric proteins. So far, however, no common mechanism has been identified by which the many different mutations in different sarcomeric and non-sarcomeric proteins trigger development of the FHC phenotype. Here we show for different MYH7 mutations variance in force pCa-relations from normal to highly abnormal as a feature common to all mutations we studied, while direct functional effects of the different FHC-mutations, e.g., on force generation, ATPase or calcium sensitivity of the contractile system, can be quite different. The functional variation among individual M. soleus fibers of FHC-patients is accompanied by large variation in mutant vs. wildtype β-MyHC-mRNA. Preliminary results show a similar variation in mutant vs. wildtype β-MyHC-mRNA among individual cardiomyocytes. We discuss our previously proposed concept as to how different mutations in the β-MyHC and possibly other sarcomeric and non-sarcomeric proteins may initiate an FHC-phenotype by functional variation among individual cardiomyocytes that results in structural distortions within the myocardium, leading to cellular and myofibrillar disarray. In addition, distortions can activate stretch-sensitive signaling in cardiomyocytes and non-myocyte cells which is known to induce cardiac remodeling with interstitial fibrosis and hypertrophy. Such a mechanism will have major implications for therapeutic strategies to prevent FHC-development, e.g., by reducing functional imbalances among individual cardiomyocytes or by inhibition of their triggering of signaling paths initiating remodeling. Targeting increased or decreased contractile function would require selective targeting of mutant or wildtype protein to reduce functional imbalances.
PMCID: PMC4193225  PMID: 25346696
MYH7-mutations; allelic imbalance; myocyte disarray; interstitial fibrosis; converter domain of myosin head; myosin head stiffness; calcium sensitivity of muscle fibers; calcium sensitivity of cardiomyocytes
11.  Polygons and adhesion plaques and the disassembly and assembly of myofibrils in cardiac myocytes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1989;108(6):2355-2367.
Successive stages in the disassembly of myofibrils and the subsequent assembly of new myofibrils have been studied in cultures of dissociated chick cardiac myocytes. The myofibrils in trypsinized and dispersed myocytes are sequentially disassembled during the first 3 d of culture. They split longitudinally and then assemble into transitory polygons. Multiples of single sarcomeres, the cardiac polygons, are analogous to the transitory polygonal configurations assumed by stress fibers in spreading fibroblasts. They differ from their counterparts in fibroblasts in that they consist of muscle alpha-actinin vertices and muscle myosin heavy chain struts, rather than of the nonmuscle contractile protein isoforms of stress fiber polygons. EM sections reveal the vertices and struts in cardiac polygons to be typical Z and A bands. Most cardiac polygons are eliminated by day 5 of culture. Concurrent with the disassembly and elimination of the original myofibrils new myofibrils are rapidly assembled elsewhere in the same myocyte. Without exception both distal tips of each nascent myofibril terminate in adhesion plaques. The morphology and composition of the adhesion plaques capping each end of each myofibril are similar to those of the termini of stress fibers in fibroblasts. However, whereas the adhesion complexes involving stress fibers in fibroblasts consist of vinculin/nonmuscle alpha-actinin/beta- and gamma-actins, the analogous structures in myocytes involving myofibrils consist of vinculin/muscle alpha-actinin/alpha-actin. The addition of 1.7-2.0 microns sarcomeres to the distal tips of an elongating myofibril, irrespective of whether the myofibril consists of 1, 10, or several hundred tandem sarcomeres, occurs while the myofibril appears to remain linked to its respective adhesion plaques. The adhesion plaques in vitro are the equivalent of the in vivo intercalated discs, both in terms of their molecular composition and with respect to their functioning as initiating sites for the assembly of new sarcomeres. How 1.7-2.0 microns nascent sarcomeres can be added distally during elongation while the tips of the myofibrils remain inserted into submembranous adhesion plaques is unknown.
PMCID: PMC2115580  PMID: 2472405
12.  The Transitional Junction: A New Functional Subcellular Domain at the Intercalated Disc 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(4):2091-2100.
We define here a previously unrecognized structural element close to the heart muscle plasma membrane at the intercalated disc where the myofibrils lead into the adherens junction. At this location, the plasma membrane is extensively folded. Immunofluorescence and immunogold electron microscopy reveal a spectrin-rich domain at the apex of the folds. These domains occur at the axial level of what would be the final Z-disc of the terminal sarcomere in the myofibril, although there is no Z-disc-like structure there. However, a sharp transitional boundary lies between the myofibrillar I-band and intercalated disc thin filaments, identifiable by the presence of Z-disc proteins, α-actinin, and N-terminal titin. This allows for the usual elastic positioning of the A-band in the final sarcomere, whereas the transduction of the contractile force normally associated with the Z-disc is transferred to the adherens junctions at the plasma membrane. The axial conjunction of the transitional junction with the spectrin-rich domains suggests a mechanism for direct communication between intercalated disc and contractile apparatus. In particular, it provides a means for sarcomeres to be added to the ends of the cells during growth. This is of particular relevance to understanding myocyte elongation in dilated cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC1415289  PMID: 16481394
13.  Remodeling of the Sarcomeric Cytoskeleton in Cardiac Ventricular Myocytes during Heart Failure and after Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy 
Sarcomeres are the basic contractile units of cardiac myocytes. Recent studies demonstrated remodeling of sarcomeric proteins in several diseases, including genetic defects and heart failure. Here we investigated remodeling of sarcomeric α-actinin in two models of heart failure, synchronous (SHF) and dyssynchronous heart failure (DHF), as well as a model of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). We applied three-dimensional confocal microscopy and quantitative methods of image analysis to study isolated cells from our animal models. 3D Fourier analysis revealed a decrease of the spatial regularity of the α-actinin distribution in both SHF and DHF versus control cells. The spatial regularity of α-actinin in DHF cells was reduced when compared with SHF cells. The spatial regularity of α-actinin was partially restored after CRT. We found longitudinal depositions of α-actinin in SHF, DHF and CRT cells. These depositions spanned adjacent Z-disks and exhibited a lower density of α-actinin than in the Z-disk. Differences in the occurrence of depositions between the SHF, CRT and DHF models versus control were significant. Also, CRT cells exhibited a higher occurrence of depositions versus SHF, but not DHF cells. Other sarcomeric proteins did not accumulate in the depositions to the same extent as α-actinin. We did not find differences in the expression of α-actinin protein and its encoding gene in our animal models. In summary, our studies indicate that HF is associated with two different types of remodeling of α-actinin and only one of those was reversed after CRT. We suggest that these results can guide us to an understanding of remodeling of structures and function associated with sarcomeres.
PMCID: PMC4077200  PMID: 24657727
Heart failure; cardiac resynchronization therapy; remodeling; cardiac recovery; alpha actinin
14.  Human cardiomyopathy mutations induce myocyte hyperplasia and activate hypertrophic pathways during cardiogenesis in zebrafish 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2011;4(3):400-410.
To assess the effects during cardiac development of mutations that cause human cardiomyopathy, we modeled a sarcomeric gene mutation in the embryonic zebrafish. We designed morpholino antisense oligonucleotides targeting the exon 13 splice donor site in the zebrafish cardiac troponin T (tnnt2) gene, in order to precisely recapitulate a human TNNT2 mutation that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a disease characterized by myocardial hypertrophy, myocyte and myofibrillar disarray, as well as an increased risk of sudden death. Similar to humans with HCM, the morphant zebrafish embryos displayed sarcomere disarray and there was a robust induction of myocardial hypertrophic pathways. Microarray analysis uncovered a number of shared transcriptional responses between this zebrafish model and a well-characterized mouse model of HCM. However, in contrast to adult hearts, these embryonic hearts developed cardiomyocyte hyperplasia in response to this genetic perturbation. The re-creation of a human disease-causing TNNT2 splice variant demonstrates that sarcomeric mutations can alter cardiomyocyte biology at the earliest stages of heart development with distinct effects from those observed in adult hearts despite shared transcriptional responses.
PMCID: PMC3097461  PMID: 21245263
15.  Scaffolds and chaperones in myofibril assembly: putting the striations in striated muscle 
Biophysical reviews  2011;3(1):25-32.
Sarcomere assembly in striated muscles has long been described as a series of steps leading to assembly of individual proteins into thick filaments, thin filaments and Z-lines. Decades of previous work focused on the order in which various structural proteins adopted the striated organization typical of mature myofibrils. These studies led to the view that actin and α-actinin assemble into premyofibril structures separately from myosin filaments, and that these structures are then assembled into myofibrils with centered myosin filaments and actin filaments anchored at the Z-lines. More recent studies have shown that particular scaffolding proteins and chaperone proteins are required for individual steps in assembly. Here, we review the evidence that N-RAP, a LIM domain and nebulin repeat protein, scaffolds assembly of actin and α-actinin into I-Z-I structures in the first steps of assembly; that the heat shock chaperone proteins Hsp90 & Hsc70 cooperate with UNC-45 to direct the folding of muscle myosin and its assembly into thick filaments; and that the kelch repeat protein Krp1 promotes lateral fusion of premyofibril structures to form mature striated myofibrils. The evidence shows that myofibril assembly is a complex process that requires the action of particular catalysts and scaffolds at individual steps. The scaffolds and chaperones required for assembly are potential regulators of myofibrillogenesis, and abnormal function of these proteins caused by mutation or pathological processes could in principle contribute to diseases of cardiac and skeletal muscles.
PMCID: PMC3110075  PMID: 21666840
Myofibrillogenesis; N-RAP; Krp1; Hsp90; Hsc70; UNC-45
16.  The homeobox transcription factor Prox1 inhibits proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma cells by inducing p53-dependent senescence-like phenotype 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(3):222-229.
The homeobox transcription factor Prox1 is highly expressed in adult hepatocytes and is involved in the regulation of bile acid synthesis and gluconeogenesis in the liver by interacting with other transcriptional activators or repressors. Recent studies showed that Prox1 could inhibit proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and reduced Prox1 expression was associated with poor prognosis of HCC patients. However, the underlying mechanism by which Prox1 attenuates HCC growth is still unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that Prox1 induced senescence-like phenotype of HCC cells to reduce cell proliferation. Our results indicated that the tumor suppressor p53 is a key mediator of Prox1-induced growth suppression because Prox1 only induced senescence-like phenotype in HCC cells harboring wild type p53. In addition, knockdown of p53 by shRNA reversed the effect of Prox1. However, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay did not demonstrate the direct binding of Prox1 to proximal promoter of human p53 gene suggesting Prox1 might not directly activate p53 transcription. We found that Prox1 suppressed Twist expression in HCC cells and subsequently relieved its inhibition on p53 gene transcription. The involvement of Twist in the regulation of p53 by Prox1 was supported by the following evidence: (1) Prox1 inhibited Twist expression and promoter activity; (2) knockdown of Twist in SK-HEP-1 cells upregulated p53 expression and (3) ectopic expression of Twist counteracted Prox1-induced p53 transcription and senescence-like phenotype. We also indentified an E-box located at p53 promoter which is required for Twist to inhibit p53 expression. Finally, our animal experiment confirmed that Prox1 suppressed HCC growth in vivo. Collectively, we conclude that Prox1 suppresses proliferation of HCC cells via inhibiting Twist to trigger p53-dependent senescence-like phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3595304  PMID: 23291986
Prox1; Twist; p53; senescence; hepatocellular carcinoma
17.  Arginylation regulates myofibrils to maintain heart function and prevent dilated cardiomyopathy 
Protein arginylation mediated by arginyltransferase (ATE1) is essential for heart formation during embryogenesis, however its cell-autonomous role in cardiomyocytes and the differentiated heart muscle has never been investigated. To address this question, we generated cardiac muscle-specific Ate1 knockout mice, in which Ate1 deletion was driven by α-myosin heavy chain promoter (αMHC-Ate1 mouse). These mice were initially viable, but developed severe cardiac contractility defects, dilated cardiomyopathy, and thrombosis over time, resulting in high rates of lethality after 6 months of age. These symptoms were accompanied by severe ultrastructural defects in cardiac myofibrils, seen in the newborns and far preceding the onset of cardiomyopathy, suggesting that these defects were primary and likely underlay the development of the future heart defects. Several major sarcomeric proteins were arginylated in vivo. Moreover, Ate1 deletion in the hearts resulted in a significant reduction of active and passive myofibril forces, suggesting that arginylation is critical for both myofibril structural integrity and contractility. Thus, arginylation is essential for maintaining the heart function by regulation of the major myofibril proteins and myofibril forces, and its absence in the heart muscle leads to progressive heart failure through cardiomyocyte-specific defects.
PMCID: PMC3418387  PMID: 22626847
arginylation; dilated cardyomyopathy; myofibrils
18.  Myofibril degeneration caused by tropomodulin overexpression leads to dilated cardiomyopathy in juvenile mice. 
Loss of myofibril organization is a common feature of chronic dilated and progressive cardiomyopathy. To study how the heart compensates for myofibril degeneration, transgenic mice were created that undergo progressive loss of myofibrils after birth. Myofibril degeneration was induced by overexpression of tropomodulin, a component of the thin filament complex which determines and maintains sarcomeric actin filament length. The tropomodulin cDNA was placed under control of the alpha-myosin heavy chain gene promoter to overexpress tropomodulin specifically in the myocardium. Offspring with the most severe phenotype showed cardiomyopathic changes between 2 and 4 wk after birth. Hearts from these mice present characteristics consistent with dilated cardiomyopathy and a failed hypertrophic response. Histological analysis showed widespread loss of myofibril organization. Confocal microscopy of isolated cardiomyocytes revealed intense tropomodulin immunoreactivity in transgenic mice together with abnormal coincidence of tropomodulin and alpha-actinin reactivity at Z discs. Contractile function was compromised severely as determined by echocardiographic analyses and isolated Langendorff heart preparations. This novel experimentally induced cardiomyopathy will be useful for understanding dilated cardiomyopathy and the effect of thin filament-based myofibril degeneration upon cardiac structure and function.
PMCID: PMC508539  PMID: 9421465
19.  Critical roles for multiple formins during cardiac myofibril development and repair 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(6):811-827.
Seven of 15 different mouse formins localized in diverse patterns to cardiomyocyte sarcomeres. Four were required for proper organization of myofibrils, and two were critical for remodeling and repair of myofibril structure.
Cardiac and skeletal muscle function depends on the proper formation of myofibrils, which are tandem arrays of highly organized actomyosin contractile units called sarcomeres. How the architecture of these colossal molecular assemblages is established during development and maintained over the lifetime of an animal is poorly understood. We investigate the potential roles in myofibril formation and repair of formin proteins, which are encoded by 15 different genes in mammals. Using quantitative real-time PCR analysis, we find that 13 formins are differentially expressed in mouse hearts during postnatal development. Seven formins immunolocalize to sarcomeres in diverse patterns, suggesting that they have a variety of functional roles. Using RNA interference silencing, we find that the formins mDia2, DAAM1, FMNL1, and FMNL2 are required nonredundantly for myofibrillogenesis. Knockdown phenotypes include global loss of myofibril organization and defective sarcomeric ultrastructure. Finally, our analysis reveals an unanticipated requirement specifically for FMNL1 and FMNL2 in the repair of damaged myofibrils. Together our data reveal an unexpectedly large number of formins, with diverse localization patterns and nonredundant roles, functioning in myofibril development and maintenance, and provide the first evidence of actin assembly factors being required to repair myofibrils.
PMCID: PMC3952851  PMID: 24430873
20.  Hypothesis and theory: mechanical instabilities and non-uniformities in hereditary sarcomere myopathies 
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), due to point mutations in genes for sarcomere proteins such as myosin, occurs in 1/500 people and is the most common cause of sudden death in young individuals. Similar mutations in skeletal muscle, e.g., in the MYH7 gene for slow myosin found in both the cardiac ventricle and slow skeletal muscle, may also cause severe disease but the severity and the morphological changes are often different. In HCM, the modified protein function leads, over years to decades, to secondary remodeling with substantial morphological changes, such as hypertrophy, myofibrillar disarray, and extensive fibrosis associated with severe functional deterioration. Despite intense studies, it is unclear how the moderate mutation-induced changes in protein function cause the long-term effects. In hypertrophy of the heart due to pressure overload (e.g., hypertension), mechanical stress in the myocyte is believed to be major initiating stimulus for activation of relevant cell signaling cascades. Here it is considered how expression of mutated proteins, such as myosin or regulatory proteins, could have similar consequences through one or both of the following mechanisms: (1) contractile instabilities within each sarcomere (with more than one stable velocity for a given load), (2) different tension generating capacities of cells in series. These mechanisms would have the potential to cause increased tension and/or stretch of certain cells during parts of the cardiac cycle. Modeling studies are used to illustrate these ideas and experimental tests are proposed. The applicability of similar ideas to skeletal muscle is also postulated, and differences between heart and skeletal muscle are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4163974  PMID: 25309450
myopathy; striated muscle; force-velocity relationship; actomyosin; heart; skeletal muscle
21.  microRNA-1 regulates sarcomere formation and suppresses smooth muscle gene expression in the mammalian heart 
eLife  2013;2:e01323.
microRNA-1 (miR-1) is an evolutionarily conserved, striated muscle-enriched miRNA. Most mammalian genomes contain two copies of miR-1, and in mice, deletion of a single locus, miR-1-2, causes incompletely penetrant lethality and subtle cardiac defects. Here, we report that deletion of miR-1-1 resulted in a phenotype similar to that of the miR-1-2 mutant. Compound miR-1 knockout mice died uniformly before weaning due to severe cardiac dysfunction. miR-1-null cardiomyocytes had abnormal sarcomere organization and decreased phosphorylation of the regulatory myosin light chain-2 (MLC2), a critical cytoskeletal regulator. The smooth muscle-restricted inhibitor of MLC2 phosphorylation, Telokin, was ectopically expressed in the myocardium, along with other smooth muscle genes. miR-1 repressed Telokin expression through direct targeting and by repressing its transcriptional regulator, Myocardin. Our results reveal that miR-1 is required for postnatal cardiac function and reinforces the striated muscle phenotype by regulating both transcriptional and effector nodes of the smooth muscle gene expression network.
eLife digest
MicroRNAs are tiny RNAs that do not encode proteins. Instead, they regulate the expression of genes by preventing protein-encoding messenger RNAs from being translated into protein. MicroRNAs are expressed throughout the body, including the heart, where the most abundant microRNA is called miR-1. This is encoded by two nearly identical genes: miR-1-1 and miR-1-2.
Mice that lack the miR-1-2 gene have various heart abnormalities, but generally survive because they still produce some miR-1 from their remaining miR-1-1 gene. Now, Heidersbach et al. have generated the first mice that specifically lack both miR-1 genes, and shown that these animals die before weaning.
When viewed under the electron microscope, heart muscle from miR-1 double knockout mice lacks the characteristic ‘striped’, or striated, appearance of normal heart muscle. Additionally, miR-1 double knockout hearts have some gene expression characteristics more similar to the smooth muscle found in the gut and in the walls of blood vessels. Smooth muscle differs from striated muscle in that it lacks sarcomeres: these are bands of fibrous proteins, such as myosin, that are essential for muscle contraction.
In normal mice, an enzyme called MLCK contributes to the formation and function of sarcomeres by adding phosphate groups to myosin molecules. By contrast, in smooth muscle an enzyme called Telokin promotes phosphate group removal, and thus affects the function of sarcomeres. Heidersbach et al. showed that miR-1 interacts directly with Telokin mRNA to prevent its expression in the heart, and simultaneously represses a protein called Myocardin, which directly activates transcription of Telokin. However, when miR-1 is absent, as in the miR-1 double knockout mice, Telokin is expressed in heart muscle, along with many other genes characteristic of smooth muscle.
As well as improving our understanding of the development and functioning of the heart, these findings should shed new light on the role of microRNAs in maintaining the patterns of gene expression that characterize unique cell fates.
PMCID: PMC3833424  PMID: 24252873
microRNA-1; cardiac; sarcomere; Telokin; Myocardin; smooth muscle gene expression; Mouse
22.  Aldosterone, Through Novel Signaling Proteins, Is a Fundamental Molecular Bridge Between the Genetic Defect and the Cardiac Phenotype of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 
Circulation  2004;109(10):1284-1291.
Human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in the young, is characterized by cardiac hypertrophy, myocyte disarray, and interstitial fibrosis. The genetic basis of HCM is largely known; however, the molecular mediators of cardiac phenotypes are unknown.
Methods and Results
We show myocardial aldosterone and aldosterone synthase mRNA levels were elevated by 4- to 6-fold in humans with HCM, whereas cAMP levels were normal. Aldosterone provoked expression of hypertrophic markers (NPPA, NPPB, and ACTA1) in rat cardiac myocytes by phosphorylation of protein kinase D (PKD) and expression of collagens (COL1A1, COL1A2, and COL3A1) and transforming growth factor-β1 in rat cardiac fibroblasts by upregulation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-p100δ. Inhibition of PKD and PI3K-p110δ abrogated the hypertrophic and profibrotic effects, respectively, as did the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist spironolactone. Spironolactone reversed interstitial fibrosis, attenuated myocyte disarray by 50%, and improved diastolic function in the cardiac troponin T (cTnT)-Q92 transgenic mouse model of human HCM. Myocyte disarray was associated with increased levels of phosphorylated β-catenin (serine 38) and reduced β-catenin–N-cadherin complexing in the heart of cTnT-Q92 mice. Concordantly, distribution of N-cadherin, predominantly localized to cell membrane in normal myocardium, was diffuse in disarrayed myocardium. Spironolactone restored β-catenin–N-cadherin complexing and cellular distribution of N-cadherin and reduced myocyte disarray in 2 independent randomized studies.
The results implicate aldosterone as a major link between sarcomeric mutations and cardiac phenotype in HCM and, if confirmed in additional models, signal the need for clinical studies to determine the potential beneficial effects of MR blockade in human HCM.
PMCID: PMC2779533  PMID: 14993121
cardiomyopathy; myocytes; hypertrophy
23.  An Endogenously Produced Fragment of Cardiac Myosin Binding Protein C is Pathogenic and Can Lead to Heart Failure 
Circulation research  2013;113(5):10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.301225.
A stable 40 kD fragment is produced from cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) when the heart is stressed, using a stimulus such as ischemia reperfusion injury. Elevated levels of the fragment can be detected in both the diseased mouse and human heart but its ability to interfere with normal cardiac function in the intact animal is unexplored.
To understand the potential pathogenicity of the 40 kD fragment in vivo and to investigate the molecular pathways that could be targeted for potential therapeutic intervention.
Methods and Results
We generated cardiac myocyte-specific transgenic mice (TG) using a Tet-Off inducible system to permit controlled expression of the 40 kD fragment in cardiomyocytes. When 40 kD protein expression is induced by crossing the responder animals with tetracycline transactivator (tTA) mice under conditions where substantial quantities approximating those observed in disease hearts are reached, the double TG (DTG) mice subsequently develop sarcomere dysgenesis, altered cardiac geometry and the heart fails between 3 to 17 weeks of age. The induced DTG mice developed cardiac hypertrophy with myofibrillar disarray and fibrosis, and activation of pathogenic MEK-ERK pathways. Inhibition of MEK-ERK signaling was achieved by injection of the MAPK/ERK kinase inhibitor U0126. The drug effectively improved cardiac function, decreased fibrosis, normalized heart size and increased probability of survival.
These results suggest that the 40 kD cMyBP-C fragment, which is produced at elevated levels during human cardiac disease, is a pathogenic fragment that is sufficient to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3835189  PMID: 23852539
Myosin-binding protein-C; cardiomyopathy; mitogen-activated protein kinase
24.  Myopalladin, a Novel 145-Kilodalton Sarcomeric Protein with Multiple Roles in Z-Disc and I-Band Protein Assemblies 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;153(2):413-428.
We describe here a novel sarcomeric 145-kD protein, myopalladin, which tethers together the COOH-terminal Src homology 3 domains of nebulin and nebulette with the EF hand motifs of α-actinin in vertebrate Z-lines. Myopalladin's nebulin/nebulette and α-actinin–binding sites are contained in two distinct regions within its COOH-terminal 90-kD domain. Both sites are highly homologous with those found in palladin, a protein described recently required for actin cytoskeletal assembly (Parast, M.M., and C.A. Otey. 2000. J. Cell Biol. 150:643–656). This suggests that palladin and myopalladin may have conserved roles in stress fiber and Z-line assembly. The NH2-terminal region of myopalladin specifically binds to the cardiac ankyrin repeat protein (CARP), a nuclear protein involved in control of muscle gene expression. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy studies revealed that myopalladin also colocalized with CARP in the central I-band of striated muscle sarcomeres. Overexpression of myopalladin's NH2-terminal CARP-binding region in live cardiac myocytes resulted in severe disruption of all sarcomeric components studied, suggesting that the myopalladin–CARP complex in the central I-band may have an important regulatory role in maintaining sarcomeric integrity. Our data also suggest that myopalladin may link regulatory mechanisms involved in Z-line structure (via α-actinin and nebulin/nebulette) to those involved in muscle gene expression (via CARP).
PMCID: PMC2169455  PMID: 11309420
α-actinin; nebulin; palladin; myopalladin; CARP
Mutations in X-linked lysosome-associated membrane protein gene (LAMP2; Danon disease) produce a cardiomyopathy in young patients that clinically mimics hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) due to sarcomere protein mutations. However, the natural history and phenotypic expression of this newly recognized disease is incompletely resolved and its identification may have important clinical implications.
To determine the clinical consequences of LAMP2 cardiomyopathy and the efficacy of diagnostic and management strategies.
Setting and Design
Clinical course and outcome were assessed prospectively in 7 young LAMP2 patients (6 males) previously identified in our laboratory from the time of diagnosis (ages 7–17; median 14) to October 2008. Phenotypic expression of this disease was assessed both clinically and at autopsy.
Implantable defibrillators, cardioactive medications, and heart transplantation.
Outcome measure
Progressive heart failure/cardiac death, and transplant.
Over 7.3 ± 3 (SD) years of follow-up, and by 12 to 24 years of age, the study patients developed LV systolic dysfunction (ejection fraction 25 ± 7[SD]%) and cavity enlargement, as well as particularly adverse clinical consequences including: progressive refractory heart failure and death (n = 4), sudden death (n = 1), aborted cardiac arrest (n = 1), or heart transplantation (n = 1). LV hypertrophy was particularly marked (maximum ventricular septum, 29–65 mm; mean 44±15[SD]) including 2 patients with massive thickness of 60 mm and 65 mm at ages 23 and 15 years, respectively. In 6 patients, at study entry a ventricular pre-excitation pattern was associated with markedly increased voltages for maximum R- or S-wave (40–145 mm; mean 74±38mm), and deeply inverted T-waves. Autopsy findings included a combination of histopathologic features consistent with a storage disease (i.e., clusters of vacuolated myocytes), but also typical of HCM due to sarcomere protein mutations (i.e., myocyte disarray, small vessel disease, myocardial scarring).
LAMP2 cardiomyopathy is a profound disease process characterized by rapid clinical deterioration leading to cardiac death in young patients < 25 years. These observations underscore the importance of timely molecular diagnosis for predicting prognosis, and early consideration of heart transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4106257  PMID: 19318653

Results 1-25 (1114591)