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1.  Mitochondrial Ca2+-Handling in Fast Skeletal Muscle Fibers from Wild Type and Calsequestrin-Null Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e74919.
Mitochondrial calcium handling and its relation with calcium released from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in muscle tissue are subject of lively debate. In this study we aimed to clarify how the SR determines mitochondrial calcium handling using dCASQ-null mice which lack both isoforms of the major Ca2+-binding protein inside SR, calsequestrin. Mitochondrial free Ca2+-concentration ([Ca2+]mito) was determined by means of a genetically targeted ratiometric FRET-based probe. Electron microscopy revealed a highly significant increase in intermyofibrillar mitochondria (+55%) and augmented coupling (+12%) between Ca2+ release units of the SR and mitochondria in dCASQ-null vs. WT fibers. Significant differences in the baseline [Ca2+]mito were observed between quiescent WT and dCASQ-null fibers, but not in the resting cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. The rise in [Ca2+]mito during electrical stimulation occurred in 20−30 ms, while the decline during and after stimulation was governed by 4 rate constants of approximately 40, 1.6, 0.2 and 0.03 s−1. Accordingly, frequency-dependent increase in [Ca2+]mito occurred during sustained contractions. In dCASQ-null fibers the increases in [Ca2+]mito were less pronounced than in WT fibers and even lower when extracellular calcium was removed. The amplitude and duration of [Ca2+]mito transients were increased by inhibition of mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (mNCX). These results provide direct evidence for fast Ca2+ accumulation inside the mitochondria, involvement of the mNCX in mitochondrial Ca2+-handling and a dependence of mitochondrial Ca2+-handling on intracellular (SR) and external Ca2+ stores in fast skeletal muscle fibers. dCASQ-null mice represent a model for malignant hyperthermia. The differences in structure and in mitochondrial function observed relative to WT may represent compensatory mechanisms for the disease-related reduction of calcium storage capacity of the SR and/or SR Ca2+-leakage.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074919
PMCID: PMC3789688  PMID: 24098358
2.  Obscurin is required for ankyrinB-dependent dystrophin localization and sarcolemma integrity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;200(4):523-536.
Obscurin contributes to the organization of subsarcolemma microtubules, localization of dystrophin at costameres, and maintenance of sarcolemmal integrity in skeletal muscle fibers.
Obscurin is a large myofibrillar protein that contains several interacting modules, one of which mediates binding to muscle-specific ankyrins. Interaction between obscurin and the muscle-specific ankyrin sAnk1.5 regulates the organization of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in striated muscles. Additional muscle-specific ankyrin isoforms, ankB and ankG, are localized at the subsarcolemma level, at which they contribute to the organization of dystrophin and β-dystroglycan at costameres. In this paper, we report that in mice deficient for obscurin, ankB was displaced from its localization at the M band, whereas localization of ankG at the Z disk was not affected. In obscurin KO mice, localization at costameres of dystrophin, but not of β-dystroglycan, was altered, and the subsarcolemma microtubule cytoskeleton was disrupted. In addition, these mutant mice displayed marked sarcolemmal fragility and reduced muscle exercise tolerance. Altogether, the results support a model in which obscurin, by targeting ankB at the M band, contributes to the organization of subsarcolemma microtubules, localization of dystrophin at costameres, and maintenance of sarcolemmal integrity.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201205118
PMCID: PMC3575540  PMID: 23420875
3.  Myosin Isoforms and Contractile Properties of Single Fibers of Human Latissimus Dorsi Muscle 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:249398.
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.
doi:10.1155/2013/249398
PMCID: PMC3736486  PMID: 23971027
4.  Correction: AQP4-Dependent Water Transport Plays a Functional Role in Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Adaptations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):10.1371/annotation/86fc2632-913c-490d-8b9b-e925b38baec5.
doi:10.1371/annotation/86fc2632-913c-490d-8b9b-e925b38baec5
PMCID: PMC3731368
5.  AQP4-Dependent Water Transport Plays a Functional Role in Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Adaptations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58712.
In this study we assess the functional role of Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in the skeletal muscle by analyzing whether physical activity modulates AQP4 expression and whether the absence of AQP4 has an effect on osmotic behavior, muscle contractile properties, and physical activity. To this purpose, rats and mice were trained on the treadmill for 10 (D10) and 30 (D30) days and tested with exercise to exhaustion, and muscles were used for immunoblotting, RT-PCR, and fiber-type distribution analysis. Taking advantage of the AQP4 KO murine model, functional analysis of AQP4 was performed on dissected muscle fibers and sarcolemma vesicles. Moreover, WT and AQP4 KO mice were subjected to both voluntary and forced activity. Rat fast-twitch muscles showed a twofold increase in AQP4 protein in D10 and D30 rats compared to sedentary rats. Such increase positively correlated with the animal performance, since highest level of AQP4 protein was found in high runner rats. Interestingly, no shift in muscle fiber composition nor an increase in AQP4-positive fibers was found. Furthermore, no changes in AQP4 mRNA after exercise were detected, suggesting that post-translational events are likely to be responsible for AQP4 modulation. Experiments performed on AQP4 KO mice revealed a strong impairment in osmotic responses as well as in forced and voluntary activities compared to WT mice, even though force development amplitude and contractile properties were unvaried. Our findings definitively demonstrate the physiological role of AQP4 in supporting muscle contractile activity and metabolic changes that occur in fast-twitch skeletal muscle during prolonged exercise.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058712
PMCID: PMC3592820  PMID: 23520529
6.  Differential Effect of Calsequestrin Ablation on Structure and Function of Fast and Slow Skeletal Muscle Fibers 
We compared structure and function of EDL and Soleus muscles in adult (4–6 m) mice lacking both Calsequestrin (CASQ) isoforms, the main SR Ca2+-binding proteins. Lack of CASQ induced ultrastructural alterations in ~30% of Soleus fibers, but not in EDL. Twitch time parameters were prolonged in both muscles, although tension was not reduced. However, when stimulated for 2 sec at 100 hz, Soleus was able to sustain contraction, while in EDL active tension declined by 70–80%. The results presented in this paper unmask a differential effect of CASQ1&2 ablation in fast versus slow fibers. CASQ is essential in EDL to provide large amount of Ca2+ released from the SR during tetanic stimulation. In contrast, Soleus deals much better with lack of CASQ because slow fibers require lower Ca2+ amounts and slower cycling to function properly. Nevertheless, Soleus suffers more severe structural damage, possibly because SR Ca2+ leak is more pronounced.
doi:10.1155/2011/634075
PMCID: PMC3173739  PMID: 21941434
7.  Microgenomic Analysis in Skeletal Muscle: Expression Signatures of Individual Fast and Slow Myofibers 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16807.
Background
Skeletal muscle is a complex, versatile tissue composed of a variety of functionally diverse fiber types. Although the biochemical, structural and functional properties of myofibers have been the subject of intense investigation for the last decades, understanding molecular processes regulating fiber type diversity is still complicated by the heterogeneity of cell types present in the whole muscle organ.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have produced a first catalogue of genes expressed in mouse slow-oxidative (type 1) and fast-glycolytic (type 2B) fibers through transcriptome analysis at the single fiber level (microgenomics). Individual fibers were obtained from murine soleus and EDL muscles and initially classified by myosin heavy chain isoform content. Gene expression profiling on high density DNA oligonucleotide microarrays showed that both qualitative and quantitative improvements were achieved, compared to results with standard muscle homogenate. First, myofiber profiles were virtually free from non-muscle transcriptional activity. Second, thousands of muscle-specific genes were identified, leading to a better definition of gene signatures in the two fiber types as well as the detection of metabolic and signaling pathways that are differentially activated in specific fiber types. Several regulatory proteins showed preferential expression in slow myofibers. Discriminant analysis revealed novel genes that could be useful for fiber type functional classification.
Conclusions/Significance
As gene expression analyses at the single fiber level significantly increased the resolution power, this innovative approach would allow a better understanding of the adaptive transcriptomic transitions occurring in myofibers under physiological and pathological conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016807
PMCID: PMC3043066  PMID: 21364935
8.  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
9.  Muscle Research and Gene Ontology: New standards for improved data integration 
Background
The Gene Ontology Project provides structured controlled vocabularies for molecular biology that can be used for the functional annotation of genes and gene products. In a collaboration between the Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium and the muscle biology community, we have made large-scale additions to the GO biological process and cellular component ontologies. The main focus of this ontology development work concerns skeletal muscle, with specific consideration given to the processes of muscle contraction, plasticity, development, and regeneration, and to the sarcomere and membrane-delimited compartments. Our aims were to update the existing structure to reflect current knowledge, and to resolve, in an accommodating manner, the ambiguity in the language used by the community.
Results
The updated muscle terminologies have been incorporated into the GO. There are now 159 new terms covering critical research areas, and 57 existing terms have been improved and reorganized to follow their usage in muscle literature.
Conclusion
The revised GO structure should improve the interpretation of data from high-throughput (e.g. microarray and proteomic) experiments in the area of muscle science and muscle disease. We actively encourage community feedback on, and gene product annotation with these new terms. Please visit the Muscle Community Annotation Wiki .
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-2-6
PMCID: PMC2657163  PMID: 19178689
10.  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

Results 1-10 (10)