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1.  Two novel/ancient myosins in mammalian skeletal muscles: MYH14/7b and MYH15 are expressed in extraocular muscles and muscle spindles 
The Journal of Physiology  2009;588(2):353-364.
The mammalian genome contains three ancient sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MYH) genes, MYH14/7b, MYH15 and MYH16, in addition to the two well characterized clusters of skeletal and cardiac MYHs. MYH16 is expressed in jaw muscles of carnivores; however the expression pattern of MYH14 and MYH15 is not known. MYH14 and MYH15 orthologues are present in frogs and birds, coding for chicken slow myosin 2 and ventricular MYH, respectively, whereas only MYH14 orthologues have been detected in fish. In all species the MYH14 gene contains a microRNA, miR-499. Here we report that in rat and mouse, MYH14 and miR-499 transcripts are detected in heart, slow muscles and extraocular (EO) muscles, whereas MYH15 transcripts are detected exclusively in EO muscles. However, MYH14 protein is detected only in a minor fibre population in EO muscles, corresponding to slow-tonic fibres, and in bag fibres of muscle spindles. MYH15 protein is present in most fibres of the orbital layer of EO muscles and in the extracapsular region of bag fibres. During development, MYH14 is expressed at low levels in skeletal muscles, heart and all EO muscle fibres but disappears from most fibres, except the slow-tonic fibres, after birth. In contrast, MYH15 is absent in embryonic and fetal muscles and is first detected after birth in the orbital layer of EO muscles. The identification of the expression pattern of MYH14 and MYH15 brings to completion the inventory of the MYH isoforms involved in sarcomeric architecture of skeletal muscles and provides an unambiguous molecular basis to study the contractile properties of slow-tonic fibres in mammals.
doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181008
PMCID: PMC2821527  PMID: 19948655
2.  Two novel/ancient myosins in mammalian skeletal muscles: MYH14/7b and MYH15 are expressed in extraocular muscles and muscle spindles 
The Journal of Physiology  2009;588(Pt 2):353-364.
The mammalian genome contains three ancient sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MYH) genes, MYH14/7b, MYH15 and MYH16, in addition to the two well characterized clusters of skeletal and cardiac MYHs. MYH16 is expressed in jaw muscles of carnivores; however the expression pattern of MYH14 and MYH15 is not known. MYH14 and MYH15 orthologues are present in frogs and birds, coding for chicken slow myosin 2 and ventricular MYH, respectively, whereas only MYH14 orthologues have been detected in fish. In all species the MYH14 gene contains a microRNA, miR-499. Here we report that in rat and mouse, MYH14 and miR-499 transcripts are detected in heart, slow muscles and extraocular (EO) muscles, whereas MYH15 transcripts are detected exclusively in EO muscles. However, MYH14 protein is detected only in a minor fibre population in EO muscles, corresponding to slow-tonic fibres, and in bag fibres of muscle spindles. MYH15 protein is present in most fibres of the orbital layer of EO muscles and in the extracapsular region of bag fibres. During development, MYH14 is expressed at low levels in skeletal muscles, heart and all EO muscle fibres but disappears from most fibres, except the slow-tonic fibres, after birth. In contrast, MYH15 is absent in embryonic and fetal muscles and is first detected after birth in the orbital layer of EO muscles. The identification of the expression pattern of MYH14 and MYH15 brings to completion the inventory of the MYH isoforms involved in sarcomeric architecture of skeletal muscles and provides an unambiguous molecular basis to study the contractile properties of slow-tonic fibres in mammals.
doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181008
PMCID: PMC2821527  PMID: 19948655
3.  Mice expressing mutant myosin heavy chains are a model for familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. 
Molecular Medicine  1996;2(5):556-567.
BACKGROUND: Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by ventricular hypertrophy, myocellular disarray, arrhythmias, and sudden death. Mutations in several contractile proteins, including cardiac myosin heavy chains, have been described in families with this disease, leading to the hypothesis that HCM is a disease of the sarcomere. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A mutation in the myosin heavy chain (Myh) predicted to interfere strongly with myosin's binding to actin was designed and used to create an animal model for HCM. Five independent lines of transgenic mice were produced with cardiac-specific expression of the mutant Myh. RESULTS: Although the mutant Myh represents a small proportion (1-12%) of the heart's myosin, the mice exhibit the cardiac histopathology seen in HCM patients. Histopathology is absent from the atria and primarily restricted to the left ventricle. The line exhibiting the highest level of mutant Myh expression demonstrates ventricular hypertrophy by 12 weeks of age, but the further course of the disease is strongly affected by the sex of the animal. Hypertrophy increases with age in female animals while the hearts of male show severe dilation by 8 months of age, in the absence of increased mass. CONCLUSIONS: The low levels of the transgene protein in the presence of the phenotypic features of HCM suggest that the mutant protein acts as a dominant negative. In addition, the distinct phenotypes developed by aging male or female transgenic mice suggest that extragenic factors strongly influence the development of the disease phenotype.
Images
PMCID: PMC2230192  PMID: 8898372
4.  Physical Interaction between TBX5 and MEF2C Is Required for Early Heart Development▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(8):2205-2218.
TBX5 is a transcription factor which plays important roles in the development of the heart and upper limbs. Mutations in this gene produce the inherited disorder Holt-Oram syndrome. Here, we report a physical interaction between TBX5 and MEF2C leading to a synergistic activation of the α-cardiac myosin heavy chain (MYH6). Mutants of TBX5, TBX5G80R, and TBX5R279X that produce severe cardiac phenotypes impair the synergy. Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we demonstrate the interaction of TBX5 and MEF2C in living cells. We also show that they physically associate through their DNA-binding domains to form a complex on the MYH6 promoter. Morpholino-mediated knockdowns of Tbx5 and Mef2c in zebrafish suggest that the genetic interaction of these proteins is not only required for MYH6 expression but also essential for the early stages of heart development and survival. This is the first report of a functional interaction between a T-box protein and a MADS box factor that may be crucial in cardiomyocyte differentiation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01923-08
PMCID: PMC2663302  PMID: 19204083
5.  Evolution of the myosin heavy chain gene MYH14 and its intronic microRNA miR-499: muscle-specific miR-499 expression persists in the absence of the ancestral host gene 
Background
A novel sarcomeric myosin heavy chain gene, MYH14, was identified following the completion of the human genome project. MYH14 contains an intronic microRNA, miR-499, which is expressed in a slow/cardiac muscle specific manner along with its host gene; it plays a key role in muscle fiber-type specification in mammals. Interestingly, teleost fish genomes contain multiple MYH14 and miR-499 paralogs. However, the evolutionary history of MYH14 and miR-499 has not been studied in detail. In the present study, we identified MYH14/miR-499 loci on various teleost fish genomes and examined their evolutionary history by sequence and expression analyses.
Results
Synteny and phylogenetic analyses depict the evolutionary history of MYH14/miR-499 loci where teleost specific duplication and several subsequent rounds of species-specific gene loss events took place. Interestingly, miR-499 was not located in the MYH14 introns of certain teleost fish. An MYH14 paralog, lacking miR-499, exhibited an accelerated rate of evolution compared with those containing miR-499, suggesting a putative functional relationship between MYH14 and miR-499. In medaka, Oryzias latipes, miR-499 is present where MYH14 is completely absent in the genome. Furthermore, by using in situ hybridization and small RNA sequencing, miR-499 was expressed in the notochord at the medaka embryonic stage and slow/cardiac muscle at the larval and adult stages. Comparing the flanking sequences of MYH14/miR-499 loci between torafugu Takifugu rubripes, zebrafish Danio rerio, and medaka revealed some highly conserved regions, suggesting that cis-regulatory elements have been functionally conserved in medaka miR-499 despite the loss of its host gene.
Conclusions
This study reveals the evolutionary history of the MYH14/miRNA-499 locus in teleost fish, indicating divergent distribution and expression of MYH14 and miR-499 genes in different teleost fish lineages. We also found that medaka miR-499 was even expressed in the absence of its host gene. To our knowledge, this is the first report that shows the conversion of intronic into non-intronic miRNA during the evolution of a teleost fish lineage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-142
PMCID: PMC3716903  PMID: 24059862
Myosin heavy chain; MYH14 (MYH7b); microRNA; miR-499; Muscle; Muscle fiber-type; Teleostei
6.  Digenic mutational inheritance of the integrin alpha 7 and the myosin heavy chain 7B genes causes congenital myopathy with left ventricular non-compact cardiomyopathy 
Background
We report an Italian family in which the proband showed a severe phenotype characterized by the association of congenital fiber type disproportion (CFTD) with a left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy (LVNC). This study was focused on the identification of the responsible gene/s.
Methods and results
Using the whole-exome sequencing approach, we identified the proband homozygous missense mutations in two genes, the myosin heavy chain 7B (MYH7B) and the integrin alpha 7 (ITGA7). Both genes are expressed in heart and muscle tissues, and both mutations were predicted to be deleterious and were not found in the healthy population.
The R890C mutation in the MYH7B gene segregated with the LVNC phenotype in the examined family. It was also found in one unrelated patient affected by LVNC, confirming a causative role in cardiomyopathy.
The E882K mutation in the ITGA7 gene, a key component of the basal lamina of muscle fibers, was found only in the proband, suggesting a role in CFTD.
Conclusions
This study identifies two novel disease genes. Mutation in MYH7B causes a classical LVNC phenotype, whereas mutation in ITGA7 causes CFTD. Both phenotypes represent alterations of skeletal and cardiac muscle maturation and are usually not severe. The severe phenotype of the proband is most likely due to a synergic effect of these two mutations.
This study provides new insights into the genetics underlying Mendelian traits and demonstrates a role for digenic inheritance in complex phenotypes.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-8-91
PMCID: PMC3695851  PMID: 23800289
Left ventricular noncompact cardiomyopathy; Congenital type fiber disproportion; Integrin alpha 7 (ITGA7); Myosin heavy chain 7B (MYH7B); Whole exome sequencing
7.  MicroRNA-208a is a regulator of cardiac hypertrophy and conduction in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(9):2772-2786.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNAs that have gained status as important regulators of gene expression. Here, we investigated the function and molecular mechanisms of the miR-208 family of miRNAs in adult mouse heart physiology. We found that miR-208a, which is encoded within an intron of α-cardiac muscle myosin heavy chain gene (Myh6), was actually a member of a miRNA family that also included miR-208b, which was determined to be encoded within an intron of β-cardiac muscle myosin heavy chain gene (Myh7). These miRNAs were differentially expressed in the mouse heart, paralleling the expression of their host genes. Transgenic overexpression of miR-208a in the heart was sufficient to induce hypertrophic growth in mice, which resulted in pronounced repression of the miR-208 regulatory targets thyroid hormone–associated protein 1 and myostatin, 2 negative regulators of muscle growth and hypertrophy. Studies of the miR-208a Tg mice indicated that miR-208a expression was sufficient to induce arrhythmias. Furthermore, analysis of mice lacking miR-208a indicated that miR-208a was required for proper cardiac conduction and expression of the cardiac transcription factors homeodomain-only protein and GATA4 and the gap junction protein connexin 40. Together, our studies uncover what we believe are novel miRNA-dependent mechanisms that modulate cardiac hypertrophy and electrical conduction.
doi:10.1172/JCI36154
PMCID: PMC2735902  PMID: 19726871
8.  A family of microRNAs encoded by myosin genes governs myosin expression and muscle performance 
Developmental cell  2009;17(5):662-673.
Myosin is the primary regulator of muscle strength and contractility. Here we show that three myosin genes, Myh6, Myh7, and Myh7b, encode related microRNAs (miRNAs) within their introns, which, in turn, control muscle myosin content, myofiber identity and muscle performance. Within the adult heart, the Myh6 gene, encoding a fast myosin, co-expresses miR-208a, which regulates the expression of two slow myosins and their intronic miRNAs, Myh7/miR-208b and Myh7b/miR-499, respectively. miR-208b and miR-499 are functionally redundant, and play a dominant role in the specification of muscle fiber identity by activating slow and repressing fast myofiber gene programs. The actions of these miRNAs are mediated by a collection of transcriptional repressors of slow myofiber genes. These findings reveal that myosin genes not only encode the major contractile proteins of muscle, but act more broadly to influence muscle function by encoding a network of intronic miRNAs that control muscle gene expression and performance.
doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2009.10.013
PMCID: PMC2796371  PMID: 19922871
9.  Genetic mutations and mechanisms in dilated cardiomyopathy 
Genetic mutations account for a significant percentage of cardiomyopathies, which are a leading cause of congestive heart failure. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), cardiac output is limited by the thickened myocardium through impaired filling and outflow. Mutations in the genes encoding the thick filament components myosin heavy chain and myosin binding protein C (MYH7 and MYBPC3) together explain 75% of inherited HCMs, leading to the observation that HCM is a disease of the sarcomere. Many mutations are “private” or rare variants, often unique to families. In contrast, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is far more genetically heterogeneous, with mutations in genes encoding cytoskeletal, nucleoskeletal, mitochondrial, and calcium-handling proteins. DCM is characterized by enlarged ventricular dimensions and impaired systolic and diastolic function. Private mutations account for most DCMs, with few hotspots or recurring mutations. More than 50 single genes are linked to inherited DCM, including many genes that also link to HCM. Relatively few clinical clues guide the diagnosis of inherited DCM, but emerging evidence supports the use of genetic testing to identify those patients at risk for faster disease progression, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia.
doi:10.1172/JCI62862
PMCID: PMC3533274  PMID: 23281406
10.  Impaired thymic tolerance to α-myosin directs autoimmunity to the heart in mice and humans 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(4):1561-1573.
Autoimmunity has long been linked to myocarditis and its sequela, dilated cardiomyopathy, the leading causes of heart failure in young patients. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly defined, with most clinical investigations focused on humoral autoimmunity as the target for intervention. Here, we show that the α-isoform of myosin heavy chain (α-MyHC, which is encoded by the gene Myh6) is the pathogenic autoantigen for CD4+ T cells in a spontaneous mouse model of myocarditis. Further, we found that Myh6 transcripts were absent in mouse medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) and peripheral lymphoid stromal cells, which have been implicated in mediating central and peripheral T cell tolerance, respectively. Transgenic expression of α-MyHC in thymic epithelium conferred tolerance to cardiac myosin and prevented myocarditis, demonstrating that α-MyHC is a primary autoantigen in this disease process. Remarkably, we found that humans also lacked α-MyHC in mTECs and had high frequencies of α-MyHC–specific T cells in peripheral blood, with markedly augmented T cell responses to α-MyHC in patients with myocarditis. Since α-MyHC constitutes a small fraction of MyHC in human heart, these findings challenge the longstanding notion that autoimmune targeting of MyHC is due to its cardiac abundance and instead suggest that it is targeted as a result of impaired T cell tolerance mechanisms. These results thus support a role for T cell–specific therapies for myocarditis.
doi:10.1172/JCI44583
PMCID: PMC3069776  PMID: 21436590
11.  Myostatin facilitates slow and inhibits fast myosin heavy chain expression during myogenic differentiation 
Skeletal muscles in the limb and body trunk are composed of heterogeneous myofibers expressing different isoforms of myosin heavy chain (Myh), including type I (slow, Myh7), IIA (intermediate, Myh2), IIX (fast, Myh1) and IIB (very fast, Myh4). While the contraction force and speed of a muscle are known to be determined by the relative abundance of myofibers expressing each Myh isoform, it is unclear how specific combinations of myofiber types are formed and regulated at the cellular and molecular level. We report here that myostatin (Mstn) positively regulates slow but negatively regulates fast Myh isoforms. Mstn was expressed at higher levels in the fast muscle myoblasts and myofibers than in the slow muscle counterparts. Interestingly, Mstn knockout led to a shift of Myh towards faster isoforms, suggesting an inhibitory role of Mstn in fast Myh expression. Consistently, when induced to differentiate, Mstn null myoblasts formed myotubes preferentially expressing fast Myh. Conversely, treatment of myoblasts with a recombinant Mstn protein upregulated Myh7 but downregulated Myh4 gene expression in newly formed myotubes. Importantly, both Mstn antibody and soluble activin type 2B receptor inhibited slow Myh7 and promoted fast Myh4 expression, indicating that myostatin acts through canonical activin receptor to regulate the expression of Myh genes. These results demonstrate a role of myostatin in the specification of myofiber types during myogenic differentiation.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.08.040
PMCID: PMC3483024  PMID: 22910409
Myostatin (Mstn); satellite cells; myofiber; myosin heavy chain; TGFβ
12.  Absence of heartbeat in the Xenopus tropicalis mutation muzak is caused by a nonsense mutation in cardiac myosin myh6 
Developmental biology  2009;336(1):20-29.
Mechanisms coupling heart function and cardiac morphogenesis can be accessed in lower vertebrate embryos that can survive to swimming tadpole stages on diffused oxygen. Forward genetic screens in Xenopus tropicalis have identified more than 80 mutations affecting diverse developmental processes, including cardiac morphogenesis and function. In the first positional cloning of a mutation in X. tropicalis, we show that non-contractile hearts in muzak (muz) embryos are caused by a premature stop codon in the cardiac myosin heavy chain gene myh6. The mutation deletes the coiled-coil domain responsible for polymerization into thick filaments, severely disrupting the cardiomyocyte cytoskeleton. Despite the lack of contractile activity and absence of a major structural protein, early stages of cardiac morphogenesis including looping and chamber formation are grossly normal. Muz hearts subsequently develop dilated chambers with compressed endocardium and fail to form identifiable cardiac valves and trabeculae.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.09.019
PMCID: PMC2786259  PMID: 19769958
Xenopus tropicalis; mutation; heart; cardiac; myh6; valve; trabeculation; sarcomere; myosin; genetic mapping
13.  T Lymphocyte Myosin IIA is Required for Maturation of the Immunological Synapse 
The role of non-muscle myosin IIA (heavy chain encoded by the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene, Myh9) in immunological synapse formation is controversial. We have addressed the role of myosin IIA heavy chain protein (MYH9) in mouse T cells responding to MHC-peptide complexes and ICAM-1 in supported planar bilayers – a model for immunological synapse maturation. We found that reduction of MYH9 expression levels using Myh9 siRNA in proliferating mouse CD4+ AND T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic T cells resulted in increased spreading area, failure to assemble the central and peripheral supramolecular activation clusters (cSMAC and pSMAC), and increased motility. Surprisingly, TCR microcluster speed was reduced marginally, however TCR microclusters dissipated prior to forming a cSMAC. TCR microclusters formed in the Myh9 siRNA-treated T cells showed reduced phosphorylation of the Src family kinase (SFK) activation loop and displayed reduced cytoplasmic calcium ion (Ca2+) elevation. In addition, Myh9 siRNA-treated cells displayed reduced phosphorylation of the Cas-L substrate domain – a force-dependent SFK substrate – which was observed in control siRNA-treated cells in foci throughout the immunological synapse except the cSMAC. Cas-L exhibited TCR ligation-dependent induction of phosphorylation. These results provide further evidence that T cell activation is modulated by intrinsic force-generating systems and can be viewed as a mechanically responsive process influenced by MYH9.
doi:10.3389/fimmu.2012.00230
PMCID: PMC3421155  PMID: 22912631
synapse; antigen; calcium; receptors; phosphorylation; cytoskeleton; signaling
14.  Ebstein’s anomaly may be caused by mutations in the sarcomere protein gene MYH7 
Netherlands Heart Journal  2011;21(3):113-117.
Ebstein’s anomaly is a rare congenital heart malformation characterised by adherence of the septal and posterior leaflets of the tricuspid valve to the underlying myocardium. Associated abnormalities of left ventricular morphology and function including left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) have been observed. An association between Ebstein’s anomaly with LVNC and mutations in the sarcomeric protein gene MYH7, encoding β-myosin heavy chain, has been shown by recent studies. This might represent a specific subtype of Ebstein’s anomaly with a Mendelian inheritance pattern. In this review we discuss the association of MYH7 mutations with Ebstein’s anomaly and LVNC and its implications for the clinical care for patients and their family members.
doi:10.1007/s12471-011-0141-1
PMCID: PMC3578524  PMID: 21604106
Heart defects, congenital; Ebstein anomaly; Genetics; Cardiomyopathy; Isolated noncompaction of the ventricular myocardium
15.  MYH9-related disease: Five novel mutations expanding the spectrum of causative mutations and confirming genotype/phenotype correlations 
MYH9-related disease (MYH9-RD) is a rare autosomal dominant syndromic disorder caused by mutations in MYH9, the gene encoding for the heavy chain of non-muscle myosin IIA (myosin-9). MYH9-RD is characterized by congenital macrothrombocytopenia and typical inclusion bodies in neutrophils associated with a variable risk of developing sensorineural deafness, presenile cataract, and/or progressive nephropathy. The spectrum of mutations responsible for MYH9-RD is limited. We report five families, each with a novel MYH9 mutation. Two mutations, p.Val34Gly and p.Arg702Ser, affect the motor domain of myosin-9, whereas the other three, p.Met847_Glu853dup, p.Lys1048_Glu1054del, and p.Asp1447Tyr, hit the coiled-coil tail domain of the protein. The motor domain mutations were associated with more severe clinical phenotypes than those in the tail domain.
doi:10.1016/j.ejmg.2012.10.009
PMCID: PMC3546164  PMID: 23123319
MYH9-related disease; MYH9 gene; Mutational screening; Missense mutation; In frame deletion/duplication; Genotype–phenotype correlation
16.  Somatic mutation analysis of MYH11 in breast and prostate cancer 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:263.
Background
MYH11 (also known as SMMHC) encodes the smooth-muscle myosin heavy chain, which has a key role in smooth muscle contraction. Inversion at the MYH11 locus is one of the most frequent chromosomal aberrations found in acute myeloid leukemia. We have previously shown that MYH11 mutations occur in human colorectal cancer, and may also be associated with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. The mutations found in human intestinal neoplasia result in unregulated proteins with constitutive motor activity, similar to the mutant myh11 underlying the zebrafish meltdown phenotype characterized by disrupted intestinal architecture. Recently, MYH1 and MYH9 have been identified as candidate breast cancer genes in a systematic analysis of the breast cancer genome.
Methods
The aim of this study was to investigate the role of somatic MYH11 mutations in two common tumor types; breast and prostate cancers. A total of 155 breast cancer and 71 prostate cancer samples were analyzed for those regions in MYH11 (altogether 8 exons out of 42 coding exons) that harboured mutations in colorectal cancer in our previous study.
Results
In breast cancer samples only germline alterations were observed. One prostate cancer sample harbored a frameshift mutation c.5798delC, which we have previously shown to result in a protein with unregulated motor activity.
Conclusion
Little evidence for a role of somatic MYH11 mutations in the formation of breast or prostate cancers was obtained in this study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-263
PMCID: PMC2562392  PMID: 18796164
17.  The fraction of strongly bound cross-bridges is increased in mice that carry the myopathy-linked myosin heavy chain mutation MYH4L342Q 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2013;6(3):834-840.
SUMMARY
Myosinopathies have emerged as a new group of diseases and are caused by mutations in genes encoding myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms. One major hallmark of these diseases is skeletal muscle weakness or paralysis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we have undertaken a detailed functional study of muscle fibers from Myh4arl mice, which carry a mutation that provokes an L342Q change within the catalytic domain of the type IIb skeletal muscle myosin protein MYH4. Because homozygous animals develop rapid muscle-structure disruption and lower-limb paralysis, they must be killed by postnatal day 13, so all experiments were performed using skeletal muscles from adult heterozygous animals (Myh4arl/+). Myh4arl/+ mice contain MYH4L342Q expressed at 7% of the levels of the wild-type (WT) protein, and are overtly and histologically normal. However, mechanical and X-ray diffraction pattern analyses of single membrane-permeabilized fibers revealed, upon maximal Ca2+ activation, higher stiffness as well as altered meridional and equatorial reflections in Myh4arl/+ mice when compared with age-matched WT animals. Under rigor conditions, by contrast, no difference was observed between Myh4arl/+ and WT mice. Altogether, these findings prove that, in adult MYH4L342Q heterozygous mice, the transition from weak to strong myosin cross-bridge binding is facilitated, increasing the number of strongly attached myosin heads, thus enhancing force production. These changes are predictably exacerbated in the type IIb fibers of homozygous mice, in which the embryonic myosin isoform is fully replaced by MYH4L342Q, leading to a hypercontraction, muscle-structure disruption and lower-limb paralysis. Overall, these findings provide important insights into the molecular pathogenesis of skeletal myosinopathies.
doi:10.1242/dmm.011155
PMCID: PMC3634666  PMID: 23335206
18.  Actin and myosin contribute to mammalian mitochondrial DNA maintenance 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(12):5098-5108.
Mitochondrial DNA maintenance and segregation are dependent on the actin cytoskeleton in budding yeast. We found two cytoskeletal proteins among six proteins tightly associated with rat liver mitochondrial DNA: non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA and β-actin. In human cells, transient gene silencing of MYH9 (encoding non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA), or the closely related MYH10 gene (encoding non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIB), altered the topology and increased the copy number of mitochondrial DNA; and the latter effect was enhanced when both genes were targeted simultaneously. In contrast, genetic ablation of non-muscle myosin IIB was associated with a 60% decrease in mitochondrial DNA copy number in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, compared to control cells. Gene silencing of β-actin also affected mitochondrial DNA copy number and organization. Protease-protection experiments and iodixanol gradient analysis suggest some β-actin and non-muscle myosin heavy chain IIA reside within human mitochondria and confirm that they are associated with mitochondrial DNA. Collectively, these results strongly implicate the actomyosin cytoskeleton in mammalian mitochondrial DNA maintenance.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkr052
PMCID: PMC3130256  PMID: 21398640
19.  Abnormal blood pressure response to exercise occurs more frequently in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients with the R92W troponin T mutation than in those with myosin mutations 
Heart Rhythm  2009;6(11):S18-S24.
Abnormal blood pressure response to exercise is reported to occur in up to a third of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) cases and is associated with an increased risk of death, particularly in the young, but it is not known whether the HCM-causing mutation influences blood pressure response to exercise. The purpose of this article is to ascertain whether the blood pressure response to exercise differs among carriers of the R92W mutation in the cardiac troponin T gene (TNNT2), which has been associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death in young males; carriers of mutations in the cardiac β-myosin heavy chain gene (MYH7); and their noncarrier relatives. Thirty R92WTNNT2 carriers, 51 MYH7 mutation carriers, and 68 of their noncarrier relatives were subjected to bicycle ergonometric exercise testing to assess blood pressure response to, as well as heart rate recovery after, exercise. Additional echocardiographic and demographic details were documented for all participants. R92WTNNT2 carriers demonstrated significantly more abnormal blood pressure responses to exercise (P = .021; odds ratio 3.03; confidence interval 1.13–8.12) and smaller increases in systolic blood pressure than MYH7 mutation carriers or related noncarrier control individuals. Although abnormal blood pressure response occurred at similar frequencies in males in all groups (23%–26%), the percentage of R92WTNNT2 females with abnormal blood pressure response was 64%, compared with 25% for MYH7 and 22% for noncarriers. Therefore, these results show that blood pressure response to exercise is influenced by genotype and gender in patients with HCM.
doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2009.07.020
PMCID: PMC2773911  PMID: 19880069
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Abnormal blood pressure response; Survival; Troponin T; Beta-myosin; Genetic mutation; Ca2+, calcium; CR, chronotropic response; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; ECG, electrocardiogram; HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; HR, heart rate; LV, left ventricle; LVM, left ventricular mass; maxLVWT, maximum left ventricular wall thickness; METs, metabolic equivalents; MYH7, beta cardiac myosin heavy chain gene; SBP, systolic blood pressure; SCD, sudden cardiac death; TNNT2, cardiac troponin T gene
20.  Distribution of histone3 lysine4 trimethylation at T3-responsive loci in the heart during reversible changes in gene expression 
Gene expression  2012;15(4):183-198.
Expression in the adult heart of a number of cardiac genes, including the two genes comprising the cardiac Myosin heavy chain locus (Myh), is controlled by thyroid hormone (T3) levels, but there is minimal information concerning the epigenetic status of the genes when their expressions change. We fed mice normal chow or a Propyl thio uracil (PTU, an inhibitor of T3 production)-diet for 6 weeks, or the PTU diet for 6 weeks followed by normal chow for a further two weeks. Heart ventricles from these groups were then used for ChIP-seq analyses with an antibody to H3K4me3, a well documented epigenetic marker of gene activation. The resulting data show that, at the Myh7 locus, H3K4me3 modifications are induced primarily at 5’ transcribed region in parallel with increased expression of beta myosin heavy chain (MHC). At the Myh6 locus, decreases in H3K4me3 modifications occurred at the promoter and 5’ transcribed region. Extensive H3K4me3 modifications also occurred at the intergenic region between the two Myh genes which extended into the 3’ transcribed region of Myh7. The PTU-induced changes in H3K4me3 levels are, for the most part, reversible but are not invariably complete. We found full restoration of Myh6 gene expression upon PTU withdrawal, however the H3K4me3 pattern was only partially restored at Myh6, suggesting that full re-expression of Myh6 does not require that the H3K4me3 modifications return fully to the untreated conditions. Together, our data show that the H3K4me3 modification is an epigenetic marker closely associated with changes in Myh gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3607203  PMID: 22783727
Myosin heavy chain; epigenetic; ChIP-seq; Thyroid Hormone; Heart; histone methylation
21.  Unequal allelic expression of wild-type and mutated β-myosin in familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2011;106(6):1041-1055.
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) is an autosomal dominant disease, which in about 30% of the patients is caused by missense mutations in one allele of the β-myosin heavy chain (β-MHC) gene (MYH7). To address potential molecular mechanisms underlying the family-specific prognosis, we determined the relative expression of mutant versus wild-type MYH7-mRNA. We found a hitherto unknown mutation-dependent unequal expression of mutant to wild-type MYH7-mRNA, which is paralleled by similar unequal expression of β-MHC at the protein level. Relative abundance of mutated versus wild-type MYH7-mRNA was determined by a specific restriction digest approach and by real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). Fourteen samples from M. soleus and myocardium of 12 genotyped and clinically well-characterized FHC patients were analyzed. The fraction of mutated MYH7-mRNA in five patients with mutation R723G averaged to 66 and 68% of total MYH7-mRNA in soleus and myocardium, respectively. For mutations I736T, R719W and V606M, fractions of mutated MYH7-mRNA in M. soleus were 39, 57 and 29%, respectively. For all mutations, unequal abundance was similar at the protein level. Importantly, fractions of mutated transcripts were comparable among siblings, in younger relatives and unrelated carriers of the same mutation. Hence, the extent of unequal expression of mutated versus wild-type transcript and protein is characteristic for each mutation, implying cis-acting regulatory mechanisms. Bioinformatics suggest mRNA stability or splicing effectors to be affected by certain mutations. Intriguingly, we observed a correlation between disease expression and fraction of mutated mRNA and protein. This strongly suggests that mutation-specific allelic imbalance represents a new pathogenic factor for FHC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00395-011-0205-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00395-011-0205-9
PMCID: PMC3228959  PMID: 21769673
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Allelic imbalance; Cardiac β-myosin heavy chain; Myosin missense mutation; mRNA quantification
22.  Lampreys Have a Single Gene Cluster for the Fast Skeletal Myosin Heavy Chain Gene Family 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e85500.
Muscle tissues contain the most classic sarcomeric myosin, called myosin II, which consists of 2 heavy chains (MYHs) and 4 light chains. In the case of humans (tetrapod), a total of 6 fast skeletal-type MYH genes (MYHs) are clustered on a single chromosome. In contrast, torafugu (teleost) contains at least 13 fast skeletal MYHs, which are distributed in 5 genomic regions; the MYHs are clustered in 3 of these regions. In the present study, the evolutionary relationship among fast skeletal MYHs is elucidated by comparing the MYHs of teleosts and tetrapods with those of cyclostome lampreys, one of two groups of extant jawless vertebrates (agnathans). We found that lampreys contain at least 3 fast skeletal MYHs, which are clustered in a head-to-tail manner in a single genomic region. Although there was apparent synteny in the corresponding MYH cluster regions between lampreys and tetrapods, phylogenetic analysis indicated that lamprey and tetrapod MYHs have independently duplicated and diversified. Subsequent transgenic approaches showed that the 5′-flanking sequences of Japanese lamprey fast skeletal MYHs function as a regulatory sequence to drive specific reporter gene expression in the fast skeletal muscle of zebrafish embryos. Although zebrafish MYH promoters showed apparent activity to direct reporter gene expression in myogenic cells derived from mice, promoters from Japanese lamprey MYHs had no activity. These results suggest that the muscle-specific regulatory mechanisms are partially conserved between teleosts and tetrapods but not between cyclostomes and tetrapods, despite the conserved synteny.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085500
PMCID: PMC3869912  PMID: 24376886
23.  Unexpectedly Low Mutation Rates in Beta-Myosin Heavy Chain and Cardiac Myosin Binding Protein Genes in Italian Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2011;226(11):2894-2900.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common genetic cardiac disease. Fourteen sarcomeric and sarcomere-related genes have been implicated in HCM etiology, those encoding β-myosin heavy chain (MYH7) and cardiac myosin binding protein C (MYBPC3) reported as the most frequently mutated: in fact, these account for around 50% of all cases related to sarcomeric gene mutations, which are collectively responsible for approximately 70% of all HCM cases. Here, we used denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography followed by bidirectional sequencing to screen the coding regions of MYH7 and MYBPC3 in a cohort (n = 125) of Italian patients presenting with HCM. We found 6 MHY7 mutations in 9/125 patients and 18 MYBPC3 mutations in 19/125 patients. Of the three novel MYH7 mutations found, two were missense, and one was a silent mutation; of the eight novel MYBPC3 mutations, one was a substitution, three were stop codons, and four were missense mutations. Thus, our cohort of Italian HCM patients did not harbor the high frequency of mutations usually found in MYH7 and MYBPC3. This finding, coupled to the clinical diversity of our cohort, emphasizes the complexity of HCM and the need for more inclusive investigative approaches in order to fully understand the pathogenesis of this disease. J. Cell. Physiol. 226: 2894–2900, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22636
PMCID: PMC3229838  PMID: 21302287
24.  The association of the MYH9 gene and kidney outcomes in American Indians: the Strong Heart Family Study 
Human genetics  2010;127(3):295-301.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem in American Indian populations. Recent research has identified associations of polymorphisms in the myosin heavy chain type II isoform A (MYH9) gene with hypertensive CKD in African-Americans. Whether these associations are also present among American Indian individuals is unknown. To evaluate the role of genetic polymorphisms in the MYH9 gene on kidney disease in American Indians, we genotyped 25 SNPs in the MYH9 gene region in 1,119 comparatively unrelated individuals. Four SNPs failed, and one SNP was monomorphic. We inferred haplotypes using seven SNPs within the region of the previously described E haplotype using Phase v2.1. We studied the association between 20 MYH9 SNPs with kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate, eGFR) and CKD (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 or renal replacement therapy or kidney transplant) using age-, sex- and center-adjusted models and measured genotyped within the variance component models. MYH9 SNPs were not significantly associated with kidney traits in additive or recessive genetic adjusted models. MYH9 haplotypes were also not significantly associated with kidney outcomes. In conclusion, common variants in MYH9 polymorphisms may not confer an increased risk of CKD in American Indian populations. Identification of the actual functional genetic variation responsible for the associations seen in African-Americans will likely help to clarify the lack of replication of this gene in our population of American Indians.
doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0769-8
PMCID: PMC2930187  PMID: 19921264
25.  Myosinopathies: pathology and mechanisms 
Acta Neuropathologica  2012;125(1):3-18.
The myosin heavy chain (MyHC) is the molecular motor of muscle and forms the backbone of the sarcomere thick filaments. Different MyHC isoforms are of importance for the physiological properties of different muscle fiber types. Hereditary myosin myopathies have emerged as an important group of diseases with variable clinical and morphological expression depending on the mutated isoform and type and location of the mutation. Dominant mutations in developmental MyHC isoform genes (MYH3 and MYH8) are associated with distal arthrogryposis syndromes. Dominant or recessive mutations affecting the type IIa MyHC (MYH2) are associated with early-onset myopathies with variable muscle weakness and ophthalmoplegia as a consistent finding. Myopathies with scapuloperoneal, distal or limb-girdle muscle weakness including entities, such as myosin storage myopathy and Laing distal myopathy are the result of usually dominant mutations in the gene for slow/β cardiac MyHC (MYH7). Protein aggregation is part of the features in some of these myopathies. In myosin storage myopathy protein aggregates are formed by accumulation of myosin beneath the sarcolemma and between myofibrils. In vitro studies on the effects of different mutations associated with myosin storage myopathy and Laing distal myopathy indicate altered biochemical and biophysical properties of the light meromyosin, which is essential for thick filament assembly. Protein aggregates in the form of tubulofilamentous inclusions in association with vacuolated muscle fibers are present at late stage of dominant myosin IIa myopathy and sometimes in Laing distal myopathy. These protein aggregates exhibit features indicating defective degradation of misfolded proteins. In addition to protein aggregation and muscle fiber degeneration some of the myosin mutations cause functional impairment of the molecular motor adding to the pathogenesis of myosinopathies.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1024-2
PMCID: PMC3535372  PMID: 22918376
Myopathy; Myosin; Myosin heavy chain; Mutation; Myosin storage myopathy; Laing distal myopathy; Protein aggregate

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