Innervation regulates the contractile properties of vertebrate muscle fibers, in part through the effect of electrical activity on expression of distinct myosins. Here we analyse the role of innervation in regulating the accumulation of the general, maturational and adult forms of rodent slow myosin heavy chain (MyHC) that are defined by the presence of distinct antigenic epitopes. Denervation increases the number of fibers that express general slow MyHC, but it decreases the adult slow MyHC epitope. Cross-reinnervation of slow muscle by a fast nerve leads to an increase in the number of fibers that express fast MyHC. In both cases, there is an increase in fibers that express slow and fast IIA MyHCs but without the adult slow MyHC epitope. The data suggest that innervation is required for maturation and maintenance of diversity of both slow and fast fibers. The sequence of slow MyHC epitope transitions is a useful biomarker, and it may play a significant role during nerve-dependent changes in muscle fiber function. We applied this detailed muscle analysis to a transgenic mouse model of Human Motor and Sensory Neuropathy IA, also known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease Type 1A (CMT1A), in which electrical conduction in some motor neurons is poor due to demyelination. The mice display atrophy of some muscle fibers and changes in slow and fast MyHC epitope expression suggestive of a progressive increase in innervation of muscle fibers by fast motor neurons, even at early stages. The potential role of these early changes in disease pathogenesis is discussed.
Muscle; myosin; human motor and sensory neuropathy IA; denervation; innervation; fast; slow; type I; type II; fiber type; antibody; post-translational modification; demyelination
We have analyzed the interactions between two types of sarcomeric proteins: myosin heavy chain (MyHC) and members of an abundant thick filament-associated protein family (myosin-binding protein; MyBP). Previous work has demonstrated that when MyHC is transiently transfected into mammalian nonmuscle COS cells, the expressed protein forms spindle-shaped structures consisting of bundles of myosin thick filaments. Co-expression of MyHC and MyBP-C or -H modulates the MyHC structures, resulting in dramatically longer cables consisting of myosin and MyBP encircling the nucleus. Immunoelectron microscopy indicates that these cable structures are more uniform in diameter than the spindle structures consisting solely of MyHC, and that the myosin filaments are compacted in the presence of MyBP. Deletion analysis of MyBP-H indicates that cable formation is dependent on the carboxy terminal 24 amino acids. Neither the MyHC spindles nor the MyHC/MyBP cables associate with the endogenous actin cytoskeleton of the COS cell. While there is no apparent co-localization between these structures and the microtubule network, colchicine treatment of the cells promotes the formation of longer assemblages, suggesting that cytoskeletal architecture may physically impede or regulate polymer formation/extension. The data presented here contribute to a greater understanding of the interactions between the MyBP family and MyHC, and provide additional evidence for functional homology between MyBP-C and MyBP-H.
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.
Myopathy; Myosin; Myosin heavy chain; Mutation; Myosin storage myopathy; Laing distal myopathy; Protein aggregate
Myosin in adult murine skeletal muscle is composed primarily of three adult fast myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms. These isoforms, MyHC-IIa, -IId, and -IIb, are >93% identical at the amino acid level and are broadly expressed in numerous muscles, and their genes are tightly linked. Mice with a null mutation in the MyHC-IId gene have phenotypes that include growth inhibition, muscle weakness, histological abnormalities, kyphosis (spinal curvature), and aberrant kinetics of muscle contraction and relaxation. Despite the lack of MyHC-IId, IId null mice have normal amounts of myosin in their muscles because of compensation by the MyHC-IIa gene. In each muscle examined from IId null mice, there was an increase in MyHC-IIa– containing fibers. MyHC-IIb content was unaffected in all muscles except the masseter, where its expression was extinguished in the IId null mice. Cross-sectional fiber areas, total muscle cross-sectional area, and total fiber number were affected in ways particular to each muscle. Developmental expression of adult MyHC genes remained unchanged in IId null mice. Despite this universal compensation of MyHC-IIa expression, IId null mice have severe phenotypes. We conclude that despite the similarity in sequence, MyHC-IIa and -IId have unique roles in the development and function of skeletal muscle.
Immune interactions in the heart were studied using a murine model of myosin-induced autoimmune myocarditis. A T cell hybridoma specific for mouse cardiac myosin was generated from A/J mice and used to demonstrate that endogenous myosin/I-Ak complexes are constitutively expressed on antigen-presenting cells in the heart. This T cell hybridoma, Seu.5, was used as a functional probe to identify a myocarditis-inducing epitope of cardiac myosin. Overlapping peptides based on the cardiac myosin heavy chain alpha (myhc alpha) sequences were synthesized and tested for their ability to stimulate Seu.5 T cells. One peptide, myhc alpha (325-357) strongly stimulated the Seu.5 T cells, localizing the epitope to this region of the myhc alpha molecule. Using truncated peptides, the epitope was further localized to residues 334-352. The myhc alpha (334-352) peptide strongly induced myocarditis when administered to A/J mice, which was histologically indistinguishable from that induced by myosin. The myhc alpha (334-352) epitope was present in cardiac myosin and not skeletal muscle myosins, providing a biochemical basis for the cardiac specificity of this autoimmune disease. Induction of myocarditis by this epitope was restricted to the myhc alpha isoform and not the myhc beta isoform, suggesting there may be a difference in the efficiency of generating tolerance to these isoforms of cardiac myosin, which are differentially developmentally regulated. The myhc alpha (334-352) epitope bound to purified I-Ak molecules in a similar manner to other I-Ak-restricted immunogenic epitopes, HEL(48-61) and RNase(43-56). Importantly, the myhc alpha (334-352) epitope was able to bind to I-Ak molecules on the surface of antigen-presenting cells in a stable manner. These findings demonstrate that autoantigenic epitopes can behave in a dominant manner and constitutively bind to class II molecules in the target organ in a similar manner to foreign immunogenic epitopes.
The sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MyHC) proteins are a family of molecular motors responsible for the transduction of chemical energy into mechanical work in striated muscle. The vertebrate genome contains multiple copies of the MyHC gene, and expression of different isoforms correlates with differences in the physiological properties of muscle fibers. Most MyHC isoforms are found in two arrays, one containing the “fast-twitch” skeletal muscle isoforms and the other the “slow-twitch” or cardiac isoforms. To extend our understanding of MyHC evolution, we have examined the genome of the anuran Xenopus tropicalis. The X. tropicalis genome includes15 full-length MyHC genes organized in seven genomic locations. One unique array of MyHC genes is similar to the mammalian fast-skeletal array, but is not found in amniotes. The isoforms in this array are expressed during larval stages and in muscles of the adult larynx. Duplication of the fast-skeletal MyHC array appears to have led to expression divergence of muscle proteins in the larval and adult stages of the anuran life cycle. A striking similarity of gene order between regions flanking X. tropicalis MyHC arrays and human arrays was evident; genomic organization of MyHC isoforms may thus be highly conserved across tetrapods.
Gene duplication; Comparative genomics; Evolution; Xenopus; Myosin heavy chain
The alpha-myosin heavy chain (alpha-MyHC) is the major contractile protein expressed in the myocardium of adult mice. We have produced mice carrying a null mutation of alpha-MyHC by homologous recombination in murine ES cells. Homozygous null animals die between 11 and 12 d in utero of gross heart defects, while alpha-MyHC+/- heterozygotes survive and appear externally normal. The presence of a single functional alpha-MyHC+ allele in heterozygous animals results in reduced levels of the transcript and protein as well as fibrosis and alterations in sarcomeric structure. Examination of heart function using a working heart preparation revealed severe impairment of both contractility and relaxation in a subset of the alpha-MyHC+/- animals. Thus, two alpha-MyHC+ alleles are necessary for normal cardiac development, and hemizygosity for the normal allele can result in altered cardiac function.
We have previously reported the identification of a distinct myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform in a major subpopulation of rat skeletal muscle fibers, referred to as 2X fibers (Schiaffino, S., L. Gorza, S. Sartore, L. Saggin, M. Vianello, K. Gundersen, and T. Lomo. 1989. J. Muscle Res. Cell Motil. 10:197-205). However, it was not known whether 2X-MyHC is the product of posttranslational modification of other MyHCs or is coded by a distinct mRNA. We report here the isolation and characterization of cDNAs coding a MyHC isoform that is expressed in type 2X skeletal muscle fibers. 2X-MyHC transcripts differ from other MyHC transcripts in their restriction map and 3' end sequence and are thus derived from a distinct gene. In situ hybridization analyses show that 2X-MyHC transcripts are expressed at high levels in the diaphragm and fast hindlimb muscles and can be coexpressed either with 2B- or 2A- MyHC transcripts in a number of fibers. At the single fiber level the distribution of each MyHC mRNA closely matches that of the corresponding protein, determined by specific antibodies on serial sections. In hindlimb muscles 2X-, 2A-, and 2B-MyHC transcripts are first detected by postnatal day 2-5 and display from the earliest stages a distinct pattern of distribution in different muscles and different fibers. The emergence of type 2 MyHC isoforms thus defines a distinct neonatal phase of fiber type differentiation during muscle development. The functional significance of MyHC isoforms is discussed with particular reference to the velocity of shortening of skeletal muscle fibers.
Myofibroblasts are unique contractile cells with both muscle and nonmuscle properties. Typically myofibroblasts are identified by the expression of α smooth muscle actin (ASMA); however some myofibroblasts also express sarcomeric proteins. In this study, we show that pulmonary myofibroblasts express three of the eight known sarcomeric myosin heavy chains (MyHCs) (IIa, IId, and embryonic) and that skeletal muscle myosin enzymatic activity is required for pulmonary myofibroblast contractility. Furthermore, inhibition of skeletal myosin activity and myofibroblast contraction results in a decrease in both ASMA and skeletal MyHC promoter activity and ASMA protein expression, suggesting a potential coupling of skeletal myosin activity and ASMA expression in myofibroblast differentiation. To understand the molecular mechanisms whereby skeletal muscle genes are regulated in myofibroblasts, we have found that members of the myogenic regulatory factor family of transcription factors and Ca2+-regulated pathways are involved in skeletal MyHC promoter activity. Interestingly, the regulation of skeletal myosin expression in myofibroblasts is distinct from that observed in muscle cells and suggests that cell context is important in its control.
myofibroblast; skeletal myosin; actin; contraction; lung
The pathogenic events leading to the progressive muscle weakness in patients with a E706K mutation in the head of the myosin heavy chain (MyHC) IIa were analysed at the muscle cell and motor protein levels. Contractile properties were measured in single muscle fiber segments using the skinned fiber preparation and a single muscle fiber in vitro motility assay. A dramatic impairment in the function of the IIa MyHC isoform was observed at the motor protein level. At the single muscle fiber level, on the other hand, a general decrease was observed in the number of preparations where the specific criteria for acceptance were fulfilled irrespective of MyHC isoform expression. Our results provide evidence that the pathogenesis of the MyHC IIa E706K myopathy involves defective function of the mutated myosin as well as alterations in the structural integrity of all muscle cells irrespective of MyHC isoform expression.
Sarcomeres, bundled into thick and thin filaments, are the units of contraction in the striated muscle. The thick filaments comprise several hundred hexameric myosin molecules, composed of 2 myosin heavy chain (MyHC) proteins, the molecular motor of contraction, and 2 regulatory and 2 essential light chains. The globular head of MyHC contains the binding domains for cardiac α-actin and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and is attached to a hinge region, which when flexed, moves the globular head over the thin filaments. The thin filaments comprise the cardiac troponin C (cTnC), T (cTnT), and I (cTnI) complex, α-tropomyosin dimers, and cardiac α-actin, maintained in a tight 1:1:7 stoichiometry. Several additional sarcomeric proteins, such as myosin-binding protein C, titin, obscurin, and telethonin contribute to the stabilization and function of the sarcomeres.
Editorials; heart failure; myosin isoforms; troponins; genetics
Keratins K5 and K14 form the extensive intermediate filament network of mitotically active basal cells in all stratified epithelia. We have explored the regulatory mechanisms governing cell-type-specific and differentiation stage-specific expression of the human K5 gene in transiently transfected keratinocytes in vitro and in transgenic mice in vivo. Six thousand base pairs of 5' upstream K5 sequence directed proper basal cell-specific expression in all stratified epithelia. Surprisingly, as few as 90 bp of the K5 promoter still directed expression to stratified epithelia, with expression predominantly in epidermis, hair follicles, and tongue. Despite keratinocyte-preferred expression, the truncated K5 promoter displayed departures from basal to suprabasal expression in epidermis and from outer root sheath to inner root sheath expression in the follicle, with some regional variations in expression as well. To begin to elucidate the molecular controls underlying the keratinocyte specificity of the truncated promoter, we examined protein-DNA interactions within this region. A number of keratinocyte nuclear proteins bind to a K5 gene segment extending from -90 to +32 bp and are functionally involved in transcriptional regulation in vitro. Interestingly, several of these factors are common to both the K5 and K14 promoters, although they appear to be distinct from those previously implicated in keratinocyte specificity. Mutagenesis studies indicate that factors binding in the vicinity of the TATA box and transcription initiation are responsible for the cell type specificity of the truncated K5 promoter.
To compare the organization of human and rat ocular medial recti muscles (MR).
The cryosections of human and rat MR were processed for myofibrillar ATPase (mATPase), succinate dehydrogenase and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. To reveal myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms, specific monoclonal antibodies against MyHC-1/β- slow, α-cardiac (-α), -2a, -2x, -2b, -extraocular (eom), -embryonic (-emb) and -neonatal (-neo) were applied. The MyHC gene expression was studied by in situ hybridization in human muscle.
The muscle fibers were arranged in two distinct layers in both species. In the orbital layer most fibers were highly oxidative and expressed fast MyHC isoforms, whereas slow and oxidative fibers expressed MyHC-1 and -α, some of them also MyHC-2a, -2x, -eom, very rarely -emb, and –neo. In the global layer, slow fibers with very low oxidative and glycolytic activity and three types of fast fibers, glycolytic, oxidative and oxidative-glycolytic, could be distinguished. The slow medium-sized fibers with mATPase activity stable at pH 4.4 expressed mostly MyHC-1 and -α in rat, while in humans they co-expressed MyHC-1 with -2b, -2x, -eom, and -neo. In both species, the fast fibers showed variable mATPase activity after preincubation at pH 9.4, and co-expressed various combinations of MyHC-2b, -2x, -2a and -eom but not -emb and -neo. MyHC-2b expressing fibers were larger and glycolytic, while MyHC-2a expressing fibers were smaller and highly oxidative in both species. To our knowledge, the present study is the first that demonstrated the expression of MyHC-2b in any of human skeletal muscles. Though the expression of MyHC genes did not correlate with the immunohistochemical profile of fibers in human MR, the expression of MyHC-2b gene was undoubtedly confirmed.
Rat MR represent a good model that can be applied to study human MR in experiment or disease, however certain differences are to be expected due to specific oculomotor demands in humans.
Ocular medial rectus muscle; Rat; Human; Histochemistry; Immunohistochemistry; Myosin heavy chain isoforms; In situ hybridization
Striated muscles are present in bilaterian animals (e.g. vertebrates, insects, annelids) and some non-bilaterian eumetazoans (i.e. cnidarians and ctenophores). The striking ultrastructural similarity of striated muscles between these animal groups is thought to reflect a common evolutionary origin1, 2. Here we show that a muscle protein core set, including a Myosin type II Heavy Chain motor protein characteristic of striated muscles in vertebrates (MyHC-st), was already present in unicellular organisms before the origin of multicellular animals. Furthermore, myhc-st and myhc-non-muscle (myhc-nm) orthologues are expressed differentially in two sponges, compatible with the functional diversification of myhc paralogues before the origin of true muscles and the subsequent deployment of MyHC-st in fast-contracting smooth and striated muscle. Cnidarians and ctenophores possess myhc-st orthologues but lack crucial components of bilaterian striated muscles, such as troponin complex and titin genes, suggesting the convergent evolution of striated muscles. Consistently, jellyfish orthologues of a shared set of bilaterian z-disc proteins are not associated with striated muscles, but are instead expressed elsewhere or ubiquitously. The independent evolution of eumetazoan striated muscles through the addition of novel proteins to a pre-existing, ancestral contractile apparatus may serve as a paradigm for the evolution of complex animal cell types.
The three adult fast myosin heavy chains (MyHCs) constitute the vast majority of the myosin in adult skeletal musculature, and are >92% identical. We describe mice carrying null mutations in each of two predominant adult fast MyHC genes, IIb and IId/x. Both null strains exhibit growth and muscle defects, but the defects are different between the two strains and do not correlate with the abundance or distribution of each gene product. For example, despite the fact that MyHC-IIb accounts for >70% of the myosin in skeletal muscle and shows the broadest distribution of expression, the phenotypes of IIb null mutants are generally milder than in the MyHC-IId/x null strain. In addition, in a muscle which expresses both IIb and IId/x MyHC in wild-type mice, the histological defects are completely different for null expression of the two genes. Most striking is that while both null strains exhibit physiological defects in isolated muscles, the defects are distinct. Muscle from IIb null mice has significantly reduced ability to generate force while IId null mouse muscle generates normal amounts of force, but has altered kinetic properties. Many of the phenotypes demonstrated by these mice are typical in human muscle disease and should provide insight into their etiology.
Extraocular muscles (EOMs) are categorized as skeletal muscles; however, emerging evidence indicates that their gene expression profile, metabolic characteristics and functional properties are significantly different from the prototypical members of this muscle class. Gene expression profiling of developing and adult EOM suggest that many myofilament and cytoskeletal proteins have unique expression patterns in EOMs, including the maintained expression of embryonic and fetal isoforms of myosin heavy chains (MyHC), the presence of a unique EOM specific MyHC and mixtures of both cardiac and skeletal muscle isoforms of thick and thin filament accessory proteins. We demonstrate that nonmuscle myosin IIB (nmMyH IIB) is a sarcomeric component in ~20% of the global layer fibers in adult rat EOMs. Comparisons of the myofibrillar distribution of nmMyHC IIB with sarcomeric MyHCs indicate that nmMyH IIB co-exists with slow MyHC isoforms. In longitudinal sections of adult rat EOM, nmMyHC IIB appears to be restricted to the A-bands. Although nmMyHC IIB has been previously identified as a component of skeletal and cardiac sarcomeres at the level of the Z-line, the novel distribution of this protein within the A band in EOMs is further evidence of both the EOMs complexity and unconventional phenotype.
cytoskeleton; thick filament; tonic fibers
Differences in primary avian skeletal muscle fiber types are based on myoblast cell lineages and independent of innervation. To understand the basis for this mode of myogenesis, embryonic myoblasts specifically committed to the formation of either fast or fast/slow muscle fiber types were isolated, characterized, and examined for their capacities to transcriptionally regulate the slow myosin heavy chain 2 (MyHC2) gene. Myogenic basic helix-loop-helix protein binding sites within the slow MyHC2 promoter were mutated and did not direct fast versus fast/slow muscle fiber type development. Using promoter analyses coupled with overexpression studies and transcriptional sensors, the roles of Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFATc1), and MEF2A in regulation of the slow MyHC2 gene were determined. MEF2A activated the slow MyHC2 promoter in both fast and fast/slow primary muscle fibers. In contrast, NFATc1 repressed promoter activity. These results do not support the roles of MEF2 and NFAT as direct regulators of primary muscle fiber type differences. Rather, the results reflect intrinsic differences in the modes of regulation of the slow MyHC2 gene in primary muscle fiber types.
myogenesis; avian; embryonic; myoblast; fiber type; lineage; promoter
The aim of our study was to investigate fiber type distribution and contractile characteristics of Latissimus Dorsi muscle (LDM). Samples were collected from 18 young healthy subjects (9 males and 9 females) through percutaneous fine needle muscle biopsy. The results showed a predominance of fast myosin heavy chain isoforms (MyHC) with 42% of MyHC 2A and 25% of MyHC 2X, while MyHC 1 represented only 33%. The unbalance toward fast isoforms was even greater in males (71%) than in females (64%). Fiber type distribution partially reflected MyHC isoform distribution with 28% type 1/slow fibers and 5% hybrid 1/2A fibers, while fast fibers were divided into 30% type 2A, 31% type A/X, 4% type X, and 2% type 1/2X. Type 1/slow fibers were not only less abundant but also smaller in cross-sectional area than fast fibers. During maximal isometric contraction, type 1/slow fibers developed force and tension significantly lower than the two major groups of fast fibers. In conclusion, the predominance of fast fibers and their greater size and strength compared to slow fibers reveal that LDM is a muscle specialized mainly in phasic and powerful activity. Importantly, such specialization is more pronounced in males than in females.
Induction of the fetal hypertrophic marker gene beta-myosin heavy chain (β-MyHC) is a signature feature of pressure overload hypertrophy in rodents. β-MyHC is assumed present in all or most enlarged myocytes.
To quantify the number and size of myocytes expressing endogenous β-MyHC using a flow cytometry approach.
Methods and Results
Myocytes were isolated from the LV of male C57Bl/6J mice after transverse aortic constriction (TAC), and the fraction of cells expressing endogenous β-MyHC was quantified by flow cytometry on 10,000–20,000 myocytes, using a validated β-MyHC antibody. Side scatter by flow cytometry in the same cells was validated as an index of myocyte size. β-MyHC-positive myocytes were 3±1% of myocytes in control hearts (n=12), increasing to 25±10% at 3d-6w after TAC (n=24, p<0.01). β-MyHC-positive myocytes did not enlarge with TAC, and were smaller at all times than myocytes without β-MyHC (~70% as large, p<0.001). β-MyHC-positive myocytes arose by addition of β-MyHC to α-MyHC, and had more total MyHC after TAC than did the hypertrophied myocytes that had α-MyHC only. Myocytes positive for β-MyHC were found in discrete regions of the LV, in 3 patterns, peri-vascular, in areas with fibrosis, and in apparently normal myocardium.
β-MyHC protein is induced by pressure overload in a minor sub-population of smaller cardiac myocytes. The hypertrophied myocytes after TAC have α-MyHC only. These data challenge the current paradigm of the fetal hypertrophic gene program, and identify a new sub-population of smaller working ventricular myocytes with more myosin.
beta-myosin heavy chain; cardiac hypertrophy; fetal genes; flow cytometry; pressure overload
Vertebrate muscles are composed of an array of diverse fast and slow fiber types with different contractile properties. Differences among fibers in fast and slow MyHC expression could be due to extrinsic factors that act on the differentiated myofibers. Alternatively, the mononucleate myoblasts that fuse to form multinucleated muscle fibers could differ intrinsically due to lineage. To distinguish between these possibilities, we determined whether the changes in proportion of slow fibers were attributable to inherent differences in myoblasts. The proportion of fibers expressing slow myosin heavy chain (MyHC) was found to change markedly with time during embryonic and fetal human limb development. During the first trimester, a maximum of 75% of fibers expressed slow MyHC. Thereafter, new fibers formed which did not express this MyHC, so that the proportion of fibers expressing slow MyHC dropped to approximately 3% of the total by midgestation. Several weeks later, a subset of the new fibers began to express slow MyHC and from week 30 of gestation through adulthood, approximately 50% of fibers were slow. However, each myoblast clone (n = 2,119) derived from muscle tissues at six stages of human development (weeks 7, 9, 16, and 22 of gestation, 2 mo after birth and adult) expressed slow MyHC upon differentiation. We conclude from these results that the control of slow MyHC expression in vivo during muscle fiber formation in embryonic development is largely extrinsic to the myoblast. By contrast, human myoblast clones from the same samples differed in their expression of embryonic and neonatal MyHCs, in agreement with studies in other species, and this difference was shown to be stably heritable. Even after 25 population doublings in tissue culture, embryonic stage myoblasts did not give rise to myoblasts capable of expressing MyHCs typical of neonatal stages, indicating that stage-specific differences are not under the control of a division dependent mechanism, or intrinsic "clock." Taken together, these results suggest that, unlike embryonic and neonatal MyHCs, the expression of slow MyHC in vivo at different developmental stages during gestation is not the result of commitment to a distinct myoblast lineage, but is largely determined by the environment.
Here we examine the expression pattern of HMGN1, a nucleosome binding protein that affects chromatin structure and activity, in the hair follicle and test whether loss of HMGN1 affects the development or cycling of the follicle. We find that at the onset of hair follicle development, HMGN1 protein is expressed in the epidermal placode and in aggregated dermal fibroblasts. In the adult hair follicle, HMGN1 is specifically expressed in the basal layer of epidermis, in the outer root sheath, in the hair bulb, but not in the inner root sheath and hair shaft. The expression pattern of HMGN1 is very similar to p63, suggesting a role for HMGN1 in the transiently amplifying cells. We also find HMGN1 expression in some, but not all hair follicle stem cells as detected by its colocalization with Nestin and with BrdU label-retaining cells. The appearance of the skin and hair follicle of Hmgn1-/- mice was indistinguishable from that of their Hmgn1+/+ littermates. We found that in the hair follicle the expression of HMGN2 is very similar to HMGN1 suggesting functional redundancy between these closely related HMGN variants.
chromatin; HMGN; p63; hair follicle
Mutations in multiple cardiac sarcomeric proteins including myosin heavy chain (MyHC) and cardiac troponin T (cTnT) cause a dominant genetic heart disease, familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC). Patients with mutations in these two genes have quite distinct clinical characteristics. Those with MyHC mutations demonstrate more significant and uniform cardiac hypertrophy and a variable frequency of sudden death. Patients with cTnT mutations generally exhibit mild or no hypertrophy, but a high frequency of sudden death at an early age. To understand the basis for these distinctions and to study the pathogenesis of the disease, we have created transgenic mice expressing a truncated mouse cTnT allele analogous to one found in FHC patients. Mice expressing truncated cTnT at low (< 5%) levels develop cardiomyopathy and their hearts are significantly smaller (18-27%) than wild type. These animals also exhibit significant diastolic dysfunction and milder systolic dysfunction. Animals that express higher levels of transgene protein die within 24 h of birth. Transgenic mouse hearts demonstrate myocellular disarray and have a reduced number of cardiac myocytes that are smaller in size. These studies suggest that multiple cellular mechanisms result in the human disease, which is generally characterized by mild hypertrophy, but, also, frequent sudden death.
Multiple genetic disorders caused by mutations that affect the proteins lamin A and C show strong skin phenotypes. These disorders include the premature aging disorders Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and mandibuloacral dysplasia, as well as restrictive dermopathy. Prior studies have shown that the lamin A/C and B proteins are expressed in skin, but little is known about their normal expression in the different skin cell-types and during the hair cycle. Our immunohistochemical staining for lamins A/C and B in wild-type mice revealed strong expression in the basal cell layer of the epidermis, the outer root sheath, and the dermal papilla during all stages of the hair cycle. Lower expression of both lamins A/C and B was seen in suprabasal cells of the epidermis, in the hypodermis, and in the bulb of catagen follicles. In addition, we have utilized a previously described mouse model of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and show here that the expression of progerin does not result in pronounced effects on hair cycling or the expression of lamin B.
The molecular mechanisms underlying myogenic induction by insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) are distinct from its proliferative effects on myoblasts. To determine the postmitotic role of IGF-I on muscle cell differentiation, we derived L6E9 muscle cell lines carrying a stably transfected rat IGF-I gene under the control of a myosin light chain (MLC) promoter-enhancer cassette. Expression of MLC–IGF-I exclusively in differentiated L6E9 myotubes, which express the embryonic form of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) and no endogenous IGF-I, resulted in pronounced myotube hypertrophy, accompanied by activation of the neonatal MyHC isoform. The hypertrophic myotubes dramatically increased expression of myogenin, muscle creatine kinase, β-enolase, and IGF binding protein 5 and activated the myocyte enhancer factor 2C gene which is normally silent in this cell line. MLC–IGF-I induction in differentiated L6E9 cells also increased the expression of a transiently transfected LacZ reporter driven by the myogenin promoter, demonstrating activation of the differentiation program at the transcriptional level. Nuclear reorganization, accumulation of skeletal actin protein, and an increased expression of β1D integrin were also observed. Inhibition of the phosphatidyl inositol (PI) 3-kinase intermediate in IGF-I-mediated signal transduction confirmed that the PI 3-kinase pathway is required only at early stages for IGF-I-mediated hypertrophy and neonatal MyHC induction in these cells. Expression of IGF-I in postmitotic muscle may therefore play an important role in the maturation of the myogenic program.
The desmoglein 1 (Dsg1) and desmocollin 1 (Dsc1) isoforms of the desmosomal cadherins are expressed in the suprabasal layers of epidermis, whereas Dsg3 and Dsc3 are more strongly expressed basally. This differential expression may have a function in epidermal morphogenesis and/or may regulate the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes. To test this hypothesis, we changed the expression pattern by overexpressing human Dsg3 under the control of the keratin 1 (K1) promoter in the suprabasal epidermis of transgenic mice. From around 12 weeks of age, the mice exhibited flaking of the skin accompanied by epidermal pustules and thinning of the hair. Histological analysis of affected areas revealed acanthosis, hypergranulosis, hyperkeratosis, localized parakeratosis, and abnormal hair follicles. This phenotype has some features in common with human ichthyosiform diseases. Electron microscopy revealed a mild epidermal spongiosis. Suprabasally, desmosomes showed incorporation of the exogenous protein by immunogold labeling but were normal in structure. The epidermis was hyperproliferative, and differentiation was abnormal, demonstrated by expression of K14 in the suprabasal layer, restriction of K1, and strong induction of K6 and K16. The changes resembled those found in previous studies in which growth factors, cytokines, and integrins had been overexpressed in epidermis. Thus our data strongly support the view that Dsg3 contributes to the regulation of epidermal differentiation. Our results contrast markedly with those recently obtained by expressing Dsg3 in epidermis under the involucrin promoter. Possible reasons for this difference are considered in this paper.