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Articles by Marco Brotto in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Fluorescence-based Measurement of Store-operated Calcium Entry in Live Cells: from Cultured Cancer Cell to Skeletal Muscle Fiber

1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Confocal Microscopy and Cell Imaging Core, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 3Muscle Biology Research Group-MUBIG Schools of Nursing & Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City


JoVE 3415

The extent of store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) can be monitored using fluorescent Ca2+ indicators. Mn2+ quenching of such indicators assays SOCE in cultured cells and skeletal muscle fibers. A technique allowing spatial and temporal resolution of SOCE by confocal imaging of mechanically skinned muscle fibers is also described.

 JoVE Biology

Ex Vivo Assessment of Contractility, Fatigability and Alternans in Isolated Skeletal Muscles

1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 2Muscle Biology Research Group, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 3Pharmacology division, College of Pharmacy, DHLRI, Ohio State University


JoVE 4198

We describe a method to directly measure muscle force, muscle power, contractile kinetics and fatigability of isolated skeletal muscles in an in vitro system using field stimulation. Valuable information on Ca2+ handling properties and contractile machinery of the muscle can be obtained using different stimulating protocols.

Other articles by Marco Brotto on PubMed

Influence of Ageing on the Fatigability of Isolated Mouse Skeletal Muscles from Mature and Aged Mice

We investigated the influence of ageing on the fatiguing characteristics of the mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle as compared to those of the soleus muscle. Fatigue was produced by an intermittent stimulation protocol. We report for mature and aged animals the effects of fatigue on force produced during stimulation patterns that in non-fatigued muscle gave maximum force (T(max), high frequency stimulation) and approximately half-maximum force (1/2T(max), low frequency stimulation). In 15-month-old (mature) mice, fatiguing stimulation decreased T(max) in EDL and soleus muscle to 10.3 +/- 1.0 % and 33.4 +/- 3.0 % of control, respectively. In 30-month-old (aged) mice, the decrease in T(max) in EDL and soleus was statistically equal to that of the younger animals. Fatiguing stimulation decreased 1/2T(max) in EDL and soleus from 15-month-old animals to 22.5 +/- 2.9 % and 45.7 +/- 0.3 % of control, respectively. In 30-month-old animals, the 1/2T(max) in EDL and soleus muscle decreased to 18.2 +/- 1.3 % and 35.0 +/- 3.6 % of control, respectively. Under all conditions, the soleus fatigued significantly less. Contractile recovery from fatiguing stimulation was complete for the soleus in both age groups after 30 min, but incomplete for the EDL. The 1/2T(max)/T(max) ratio significantly increased in EDL and soleus muscle from 15-month-old animals after fatiguing stimulation. This increase was less significant in EDL, and absent in soleus muscle, from 30-month-old animals. These results indicate that fatiguing stimulation induces a leftward shift in the force-frequency relationship in the young animals; this shift is either significantly less (EDL) or absent (soleus) in the older animals. We speculate that the leftward shift of the force-frequency relationship may reflect a protective mechanism in younger animals against some of the damaging effects of fatiguing stimulation (i.e. oxidative stress).

Truncation by Glu180 Nonsense Mutation Results in Complete Loss of Slow Skeletal Muscle Troponin T in a Lethal Nemaline Myopathy

A lethal form of nemaline myopathy, named "Amish Nemaline Myopathy" (ANM), is linked to a nonsense mutation at codon Glu180 in the slow skeletal muscle troponin T (TnT) gene. We found that neither the intact nor the truncated slow TnT protein was present in the muscle of patients with ANM. The complete loss of slow TnT is consistent with the observed recessive pattern of inheritance of the disease and indicates a critical role of the COOH-terminal T2 domain in the integration of TnT into myofibrils. Expression of slow and fast isoforms of TnT is fiber-type specific. The lack of slow TnT results in selective atrophy of type 1 fibers. Slow TnT confers a higher Ca2+ sensitivity than does fast TnT in single fiber contractility assays. Despite the lack of slow TnT, individuals with ANM have normal muscle power at birth. The postnatal onset and infantile progression of ANM correspond to a down-regulation of cardiac and embryonic splice variants of fast TnT in normal developing human skeletal muscle, suggesting that the fetal TnT isoforms complement slow TnT. These results lay the foundation for understanding the molecular pathophysiology and the potential targeted therapy of ANM.

Troponin T Isoforms Alter the Tolerance of Transgenic Mouse Cardiac Muscle to Acidosis

Troponin T (TnT) is an essential protein in the Ca2+ regulatory system of striated of muscle. Three fiber type-specific TnT genes have evolved in higher vertebrates to encode cardiac, slow and fast skeletal muscle TnT isoforms. To understand the functional significance of TnT isoforms, we studied the effects of acidosis on the contractility of transgenic mouse cardiac muscle that expresses fast skeletal muscle TnT. Contractility analysis of intact cardiac muscle strips showed that while no differences were detected at physiological pH, the transgenic cardiac muscle had significantly greater decreases in +dF/dtmax at acidic pH than that of the wild-type control. Contractility of skinned cardiac muscles demonstrated that the presence of fast TnT resulted in significantly larger decreases in force and Ca2+ sensitivity at acidic pH than that of the wild-type control. The effect of TnT isoforms on the tolerance of muscle to acidosis may explain the higher tolerance of embryonic versus adult cardiac muscles. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that charge differences in TnT isoforms contribute to the contractility of muscle. The data further support a hypothesis that slow TnT is similar to the cardiac, but not fast, and TnT may contribute to the higher tolerance of slow muscles to stress conditions. Therefore, TnT isoform diversity may contribute to the compatibility of muscle thin filaments to cellular environments in different fiber types, during development and functional adaptation.

Defective Maintenance of Intracellular Ca2+ Homeostasis is Linked to Increased Muscle Fatigability in the MG29 Null Mice

Mitsugumin 29 (MG29) is a transmembrane protein that is normally found in the triad junction of skeletal muscle. Our previous studies have shown that targeted deletion of mg29 from the skeletal muscle resulted in abnormality of the triad junction structure, and also increased susceptibility to muscle fatigue. To elucidate the basis of these effects, we investigated the properties of Ca2+-uptake and -release in toxin-skinned Extensor Digitorium Longus (EDL) muscle fibers from control and mg29 knockout mice. Compared with the control muscle, submaximal Ca2+-uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) was slower and the storage of Ca2+ inside the SR was less in the mutant muscle, due to increased leakage process of Ca2+ movement across the SR. The leakage pathway is associated with the increased sensitivity of Ca2+/caffeine -induced Ca2+ release to myoplasmic Ca2+. Therefore, the increased fatigability of mutant EDL muscles can result from a combination of a slowing of Ca2+ uptake, modification of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR), and a reduction in total SR Ca2+ content.

Functional and Biochemical Modifications in Skeletal Muscles from Malarial Mice

Although it is well established that patients suffering from malaria experience skeletal muscle problems (contracture, aches, fatigue, weakness), detailed studies have not been performed to investigate changes in the contractile function and biochemical properties of intact and skinned skeletal muscles of mammals infected with malaria. To this end, we investigated such features in the extensor digitorium longus (EDL, fast-twitch, glyocolytic) and in the soleus (SOL, slow-twitch, oxidative) muscles from mice infected with Plasmodium berghei. We first studied maximal tetanic force (T(max)) produced by intact control and malaria-infected muscles before, during and after fatigue. Triton-skinned muscle fibres were isolated from these muscles and used to determine isometric contractile features as well as a basic biochemical profile as analysed by silver-enhanced SDS-PAGE. We found that the T(max) of intact muscles and the maximal Ca2+-activated force (F(max)) of Triton-skinned muscle fibres were reduced by approximately 50% in malarial muscles. In addition, the contractile proteins of Triton-skinned muscle fibres from malarial muscles were significantly less sensitive to Ca2+. Biochemical analysis revealed that there was a significant loss of essential contractile proteins (e.g. troponins and myosin) in Triton-skinned muscle fibres from malarial muscles as compared to controls. The biochemical alterations (i.e., reduction of essential contractile proteins) seem to explain well the functional modifications resolved in both intact muscles and Triton-skinned muscle fibres and may provide a suitable paradigm for the aetiology of muscle symptoms associated with malaria.

Uncontrolled Calcium Sparks Act As a Dystrophic Signal for Mammalian Skeletal Muscle

Most excitable cells maintain tight control of intracellular Ca(2+) through coordinated interaction between plasma membrane and endoplasmic or sarcoplasmic reticulum. Quiescent sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) release machinery is essential for the survival and normal function of skeletal muscle. Here we show that subtle membrane deformations induce Ca(2+) sparks in intact mammalian skeletal muscle. Spontaneous Ca(2+) sparks can be reversibly induced by osmotic shock, and participate in a normal physiological response to exercise. In dystrophic muscle with fragile membrane integrity, stress-induced Ca(2+) sparks are essentially irreversible. Moreover, moderate exercise in mdx muscle alters the Ca(2+) spark response. Thus, membrane-deformation-induced Ca(2+) sparks have an important role in physiological and pathophysiological regulation of Ca(2+) signalling, and uncontrolled Ca(2+) spark activity in connection with chronic activation of store-operated Ca(2+) entry may function as a dystrophic signal in mammalian skeletal muscle.

Enhanced Resistance to Fatigue and Altered Calcium Handling Properties of Sarcalumenin Knockout Mice

Sarcalumenin is a Ca2+-binding protein located in the sarcoplasmic reticulum of striated muscle cells, the physiological function of which has not been fully determined yet. Using sarcalumenin knockout (sar(-/-)) mice, we showed that sar ablation altered store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) and enhanced muscle fatigue resistance. Sar(-/-) mice fatigued less with treadmill exercise, and intact isolated soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles from sar(-/-) mice were more resistant to intermittent fatiguing stimulation than those from wild-type mice. Enhanced SOCE was observed in the sar(-/-) muscles. Biochemical analysis revealed that sar(-/-) muscles contained significantly elevated expression of mitsugumin 29 (MG29), a synaptophysin-related membrane protein located in the triad junction of skeletal muscle. Because the ablation of mg29 has been shown to cause increased fatigability and dysfunction of SOCE, the enhanced SOCE activity seen in sar(-/-) muscle may be correlated with the increased expression of MG29. Our data suggest that systemic ablation of sarcalumenin caused enhanced resistance to muscle fatigue by compensatory changes in Ca2+ regulatory proteins that effect SOCE.

Coupled Expression of Troponin T and Troponin I Isoforms in Single Skeletal Muscle Fibers Correlates with Contractility

Striated muscle contraction is powered by actin-activated myosin ATPase. This process is regulated by Ca(2+) via the troponin complex. Slow- and fast-twitch fibers of vertebrate skeletal muscle express type I and type II myosin, respectively, and these myosin isoenzymes confer different ATPase activities, contractile velocities, and force. Skeletal muscle troponin has also diverged into fast and slow isoforms, but their functional significance is not fully understood. To investigate the expression of troponin isoforms in mammalian skeletal muscle and their functional relationship to that of the myosin isoforms, we concomitantly studied myosin, troponin T (TnT), and troponin I (TnI) isoform contents and isometric contractile properties in single fibers of rat skeletal muscle. We characterized a large number of Triton X-100-skinned single fibers from soleus, diaphragm, gastrocnemius, and extensor digitorum longus muscles and selected fibers with combinations of a single myosin isoform and a single class (slow or fast) of the TnT and TnI isoforms to investigate their role in determining contractility. Types IIa, IIx, and IIb myosin fibers produced higher isometric force than that of type I fibers. Despite the polyploidy of adult skeletal muscle fibers, the expression of fast or slow isoforms of TnT and TnI is tightly coupled. Fibers containing slow troponin had higher Ca(2+) sensitivity than that of the fast troponin fibers, whereas fibers containing fast troponin showed a higher cooperativity of Ca(2+) activation than that of the slow troponin fibers. These results demonstrate distinct but coordinated regulation of troponin and myosin isoform expression in skeletal muscle and their contribution to the contractile properties of muscle.

Uncoupling Store-operated Ca2+ Entry and Altered Ca2+ Release from Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Through Silencing of Junctophilin Genes

Junctophilin (JP) mediates the close contact between cell surface and intracellular membranes in muscle cells ensuring efficient excitation-contraction coupling. Here we demonstrate that disruption of triad junction structure formed by the transverse tubular (TT) invagination of plasma membrane and terminal cisternae of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) by reduction of JP expression leads to defective Ca2+ homeostasis in muscle cells. Using adenovirus with small hairpin interference RNA (shRNA) against both JP1 and JP2 genes, we could achieve acute suppression of JPs in skeletal muscle fibers. The shRNA-treated muscles exhibit deformed triad junctions and reduced store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), which is likely due to uncoupled retrograde signaling from SR to TT. Knockdown of JP also causes a reduction in SR Ca2+ storage and altered caffeine-induced Ca2+ release, suggesting an orthograde regulation of the TT membrane on the SR Ca2+ release machinery. Our data demonstrate that JPs play an important role in controlling overall intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis in muscle cells. We speculate that altered expression of JPs may underlie some of the phenotypic changes associated with certain muscle diseases and aging.

Muscle Aging is Associated with Compromised Ca2+ Spark Signaling and Segregated Intracellular Ca2+ Release

Reduced homeostatic capacity for intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) movement may underlie the progression of sarcopenia and contractile dysfunction during muscle aging. We report two alterations to Ca2+ homeostasis in skeletal muscle that are associated with aging. Ca2+ sparks, which are the elemental units of Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic reticulum, are silent under resting conditions in young muscle, yet activate in a dynamic manner upon deformation of membrane structures. The dynamic nature of Ca2+ sparks appears to be lost in aged skeletal muscle. Using repetitive voltage stimulation on isolated muscle preparations, we identify a segregated [Ca2+]i reserve that uncouples from the normal excitation-contraction process in aged skeletal muscle. Similar phenotypes are observed in adolescent muscle null for a synaptophysin-family protein named mitsugumin-29 (MG29) that is involved in maintenance of muscle membrane ultrastructure and Ca2+ signaling. This finding, coupled with decreased expression of MG29 in aged skeletal muscle, suggests that MG29 expression is important in maintaining skeletal muscle Ca2+ homeostasis during aging.

Azumolene Inhibits a Component of Store-operated Calcium Entry Coupled to the Skeletal Muscle Ryanodine Receptor

Dantrolene reduces the elevated myoplasmic Ca(2+) generated during malignant hyperthermia, a pharmacogenetic crisis triggered by volatile anesthetics. Although specific binding of dantrolene to the type 1 ryanodine receptor (RyR1), the Ca(2+) release channel of skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum, has been demonstrated, there is little evidence for direct dantrolene inhibition of RyR1 channel function. Recent studies suggest store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) contributes to skeletal muscle function, but the effect of dantrolene on this pathway has not been examined. Here we show that azumolene, an equipotent dantrolene analog, inhibits a component of SOCE coupled to activation of RyR1 by caffeine and ryanodine, whereas the SOCE component induced by thapsigargin is not affected. Our data suggest that azumolene distinguishes between two mechanisms of cellular signaling to SOCE in skeletal muscle, one that is coupled to and one independent from RyR1.

Compromised Store-operated Ca2+ Entry in Aged Skeletal Muscle

In aged skeletal muscle, changes to the composition and function of the contractile machinery cannot fully explain the observed decrease in the specific force produced by the contractile machinery that characterizes muscle weakness during aging. Since modification in extracellular Ca(2+) entry in aged nonexcitable and excitable cells has been recently identified, we evaluated the functional status of store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) in aged mouse skeletal muscle. Using Mn(2+) quenching of Fura-2 fluorescence and confocal-microscopic imaging of Ca(2+) movement from the transverse tubules, we determined that SOCE was severely compromised in muscle fibers isolated from aged mice (26-27 months) as compared with those from young (2-5 months) mice. While reduced SOCE in aged skeletal muscle does not appear to result from altered expression levels of STIM1 or reduced expression of mRNA for Orai, this reduction in SOCE is mirrored in fibers isolated from young mice null for mitsugumin-29, a synaptophysin-related protein that displays decreased expression in aged skeletal muscle. Our data suggest that decreased mitsugumin-29 expression and reduced SOCE may contribute to the diminished intracellular Ca(2+) homeostatic capacity generally associated with muscle aging.

MG53 Nucleates Assembly of Cell Membrane Repair Machinery

Dynamic membrane repair and remodelling is an elemental process that maintains cell integrity and mediates efficient cellular function. Here we report that MG53, a muscle-specific tripartite motif family protein (TRIM72), is a component of the sarcolemmal membrane-repair machinery. MG53 interacts with phosphatidylserine to associate with intracellular vesicles that traffic to and fuse with sarcolemmal membranes. Mice null for MG53 show progressive myopathy and reduced exercise capability, associated with defective membrane-repair capacity. Injury of the sarcolemmal membrane leads to entry of the extracellular oxidative environment and MG53 oligomerization, resulting in recruitment of MG53-containing vesicles to the injury site. After vesicle translocation, entry of extracellular Ca(2+) facilitates vesicle fusion to reseal the membrane. Our data indicate that intracellular vesicle translocation and Ca(2+)-dependent membrane fusion are distinct steps involved in the repair of membrane damage and that MG53 may initiate the assembly of the membrane repair machinery in an oxidation-dependent manner.

Deficiency of MIP/MTMR14 Phosphatase Induces a Muscle Disorder by Disrupting Ca(2+) Homeostasis

The intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) in skeletal muscles must be rapidly regulated during the excitation-contraction-relaxation process. However, the signalling components involved in such rapid Ca(2+) movement are not fully understood. Here we report that mice deficient in the newly identified PtdInsP (phosphatidylinositol phosphate) phosphatase MIP/MTMR14 (muscle-specific inositol phosphatase) show muscle weakness and fatigue. Muscles isolated from MIP/MTMR14(-/-) mice produced less contractile force, had markedly prolonged relaxation and showed exacerbated fatigue relative to normal muscles. Further analyses revealed that MIP/MTMR14 deficiency resulted in spontaneous Ca(2+) leakage from the internal store - the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This was attributed to decreased metabolism (dephosphorylation) and the subsequent accumulation of MIP/MTMR14 substrates, especially PtdIns(3,5)P(2) and PtdIns (3,4)P(2). Furthermore, we found that PtdIns(3,5)P(2) and PtdIns(3,4)P(2) bound to, and directly activated, the Ca(2+) release channel (ryanodine receptor 1, RyR1) of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. These studies provide the first evidence that finely controlled PtdInsP levels in muscle cells are essential for maintaining Ca(2+) homeostasis and muscle performance.

Temporal Adaptive Changes in Contractility and Fatigability of Diaphragm Muscles from Streptozotocin-diabetic Rats

Diabetes is characterized by ventilatory depression due to decreased diaphragm (DPH) function. This study investigated the changes in contractile properties of rat DPH muscles over a time interval encompassing from 4 days to 14 weeks after the onset of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, with and without insulin treatment for 2 weeks. Maximum tetanic force in intact DPH muscle strips and recovery from fatiguing stimulation were measured. An early (4-day) depression in contractile function in diabetic DPH was followed by gradual improvement in muscle function and fatigue recovery (8 weeks). DPH contractile function deteriorated again at 14 weeks, a process that was completely reversed by insulin treatment. Maximal contractile force and calcium sensitivity assessed in Triton-skinned DPH fibers showed a similar bimodal pattern and the same beneficial effect of insulin treatment. While an extensive analysis of the isoforms of the contractile and regulatory proteins was not conducted, Western blot analysis of tropomyosin suggests that the changes in diabetic DPH response depended, at least in part, on a switch in fiber type.

Muscle-specific Inositide Phosphatase (MIP/MTMR14) is Reduced with Age and Its Loss Accelerates Skeletal Muscle Aging Process by Altering Calcium Homeostasis

We have recently reported that a novel muscle-specific inositide phosphatase (MIP/MTMR14) plays a critical role in [Ca2+]i homeostasis through dephosphorylation of sn-1-stearoyl-2-arachidonoyl phosphatidylinositol (3,5) bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2). Loss of function mutations in MIP have been identified in human centronuclear myopathy. We developed a MIP knockout (MIPKO) animal model and found that MIPKO mice were more susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage, a trademark of muscle functional changes in older subjects. We used wild-type (Wt) mice and MIPKO mice to elucidate the roles of MIP in muscle function during aging. We found MIP mRNA expression, MIP protein levels, and MIP phosphatase activity significantly decreased in old Wt mice. The mature MIPKO mice displayed phenotypes that closely resembled those seen in old Wt mice: i) decreased walking speed, ii) decreased treadmill activity, iii) decreased contractile force, and iv) decreased power generation, classical features of sarcopenia in rodents and humans. Defective Ca2+ homeostasis is also present in mature MIPKO and old Wt mice, suggesting a putative role of MIP in the decline of muscle function during aging. Our studies offer a new avenue for the investigation of MIP roles in skeletal muscle function and as a potential therapeutic target to treat aging sarcopenia.

Ca2+ Overload and Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Instability in Tric-a Null Skeletal Muscle

The sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal muscle contains K(+), Cl(-), and H(+) channels may facilitate charge neutralization during Ca(2+) release. Our recent studies have identified trimeric intracellular cation (TRIC) channels on SR as an essential counter-ion permeability pathway associated with rapid Ca(2+) release from intracellular stores. Skeletal muscle contains TRIC-A and TRIC-B isoforms as predominant and minor components, respectively. Here we test the physiological function of TRIC-A in skeletal muscle. Biochemical assay revealed abundant expression of TRIC-A relative to the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor with a molar ratio of TRIC-A/ryanodine receptor ∼5:1. Electron microscopy with the tric-a(-/-) skeletal muscle showed Ca(2+) overload inside the SR with frequent formation of Ca(2+) deposits compared with the wild type muscle. This elevated SR Ca(2+) pool in the tric-a(-/-) muscle could be released by caffeine, whereas the elemental Ca(2+) release events, e.g. osmotic stress-induced Ca(2+) spark activities, were significantly reduced likely reflecting compromised counter-ion movement across the SR. Ex vivo physiological test identified the appearance of "alternan" behavior with isolated tric-a(-/-) skeletal muscle, i.e. transient and drastic increase in contractile force appeared within the decreasing force profile during repetitive fatigue stimulation. Inhibition of SR/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+ ATPase) function could lead to aggravation of the stress-induced alternans in the tric-a(-/-) muscle. Our data suggests that absence of TRIC-A may lead to Ca(2+) overload in SR, which in combination with the reduced counter-ion movement may lead to instability of Ca(2+) movement across the SR membrane. The observed alternan behavior with the tric-a(-/-) muscle may reflect a skeletal muscle version of store overload-induced Ca(2+) release that has been reported in the cardiac muscle under stress conditions.

Phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2) Potentiates Cardiac Contractility Via Activation of the Ryanodine Receptor

Phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2) is the most recently identified phosphoinositide, and its functions have yet to be fully elucidated. Recently, members of our muscle group have shown that PI(3,5)P2 plays an important role in skeletal muscle function by altering Ca(2+) homeostasis. Therefore, we hypothesized that PI(3,5)P2 may also modulate cardiac muscle contractility by altering intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](i)) in cardiac myocytes. We first confirmed that PI(3,5)P2 was present and increased by insulin treatment of cardiomyocytes via immunohistochemistry. To examine the acute effects of PI(3,5)P2 treatment, electrically paced left ventricular muscle strips were incubated with PI(3,5)P2. Treatment with PI(3,5)P2 increased the magnitude of isometric force, the rate of force development, and the area associated with the contractile waveforms. These enhanced contractile responses were also observed in MIP/Mtmr14(-/-) mouse hearts, which we found to have elevated levels of PI(3,5)P2. In cardiac myocytes loaded with fura-2, PI(3,5)P2 produced a robust elevation in [Ca(2+)](i). The PI(3,5)P2-induced elevation of [Ca(2+)](i) was not present in conditions free of extracellular Ca(2+) and was completely blocked by ryanodine. We investigated whether the phosphoinositide acted directly with the Ca(2+) release channels of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (ryanodine receptors; RyR2). PI(3,5)P2 increased [(3)H]ryanodine binding and increased the open probability (P(o)) of single RyR2 channels reconstituted in lipid bilayers. This strongly suggests that the phosphoinositide binds directly to the RyR2 channel. Thus, we provide inaugural evidence that PI(3,5)P2 is a powerful activator of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) release and thereby modulates cardiac contractility.

Phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate Increases Intracellular Free Ca2+ in Arterial Smooth Muscle Cells and Elicits Vasocontraction

Phosphoinositide (3,5)-bisphosphate [PI(3,5)P(2)] is a newly identified phosphoinositide that modulates intracellular Ca(2+) by activating ryanodine receptors (RyRs). Since the contractile state of arterial smooth muscle depends on the concentration of intracellular Ca(2+), we hypothesized that by mobilizing sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) stores PI(3,5)P(2) would increase intracellular Ca(2+) in arterial smooth muscle cells and cause vasocontraction. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that PI(3,5)P(2) was present in the mouse aorta and that exogenously applied PI(3,5)P(2) readily entered aortic smooth muscle cells. In isolated aortic smooth muscle cells, exogenous PI(3,5)P(2) elevated intracellular Ca(2+), and it also contracted aortic rings. Both the rise in intracellular Ca(2+) and the contraction caused by PI(3,5)P(2) were prevented by antagonizing RyRs, while the majority of the PI(3,5)P(2) response was intact after blockade of inositol (1,4,5)-trisphosphate receptors. Depletion of SR Ca(2+) stores with thapsigargin or caffeine and/or ryanodine blunted the Ca(2+) response and greatly attenuated the contraction elicited by PI(3,5)P(2). The removal of extracellular Ca(2+) or addition of verapamil to inhibit voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels reduced but did not eliminate the Ca(2+) or contractile responses to PI(3,5)P(2). We also found that PI(3,5)P(2) depolarized aortic smooth muscle cells and that LaCl(3) inhibited those aspects of the PI(3,5)P(2) response attributable to extracellular Ca(2+). Thus, full and sustained aortic contractions to PI(3,5)P(2) required the release of SR Ca(2+), probably via the activation of RyR, and also extracellular Ca(2+) entry via voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels.

Store-operated Ca(2+) Entry (SOCE) Contributes to Normal Skeletal Muscle Contractility in Young but Not in Aged Skeletal Muscle

Muscle atrophy alone is insufficient to explain the significant decline in contractile force of skeletal muscle during normal aging. One contributing factor to decreased contractile force in aging skeletal muscle could be compromised excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling, without sufficient available Ca(2+) to allow for repetitive muscle contractility, skeletal muscles naturally become weaker. Using biophysical approaches, we previously showed that store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) is compromised in aged skeletal muscle but not in young ones. While important, a missing component from previous studies is whether or not SOCE function correlates with contractile function during aging. Here we test the contribution of extracellular Ca(2+) to contractile function of skeletal muscle during aging. First, we demonstrate graded coupling between SR Ca(2+) release channel-mediated Ca(2+) release and activation of SOCE. Inhibition of SOCE produced significant reduction of contractile force in young skeletal muscle, particularly at high frequency stimulation, and such effects were completely absent in aged skeletal muscle. Our data indicate that SOCE contributes to the normal physiological contractile response of young healthy skeletal muscle and that defective extracellular Ca(2+) entry through SOCE contributes to the reduced contractile force characteristic of aged skeletal muscle.

Disrupted Membrane Structure and Intracellular Ca²⁺ Signaling in Adult Skeletal Muscle with Acute Knockdown of Bin1

Efficient intracellular Ca²⁺ ([Ca²⁺]i) homeostasis in skeletal muscle requires intact triad junctional complexes comprised of t-tubule invaginations of plasma membrane and terminal cisternae of sarcoplasmic reticulum. Bin1 consists of a specialized BAR domain that is associated with t-tubule development in skeletal muscle and involved in tethering the dihydropyridine receptors (DHPR) to the t-tubule. Here, we show that Bin1 is important for Ca²⁺ homeostasis in adult skeletal muscle. Since systemic ablation of Bin1 in mice results in postnatal lethality, in vivo electroporation mediated transfection method was used to deliver RFP-tagged plasmid that produced short -hairpin (sh)RNA targeting Bin1 (shRNA-Bin1) to study the effect of Bin1 knockdown in adult mouse FDB skeletal muscle. Upon confirming the reduction of endogenous Bin1 expression, we showed that shRNA-Bin1 muscle displayed swollen t-tubule structures, indicating that Bin1 is required for the maintenance of intact membrane structure in adult skeletal muscle. Reduced Bin1 expression led to disruption of t-tubule structure that was linked with alterations to intracellular Ca²⁺ release. Voltage-induced Ca²⁺ released in isolated single muscle fibers of shRNA-Bin1 showed that both the mean amplitude of Ca²⁺ current and SR Ca²⁺ transient were reduced when compared to the shRNA-control, indicating compromised coupling between DHPR and ryanodine receptor 1. The mean frequency of osmotic stress induced Ca²⁺ sparks was reduced in shRNA-Bin1, indicating compromised DHPR activation. ShRNA-Bin1 fibers also displayed reduced Ca²⁺ sparks' amplitude that was attributed to decreased total Ca²⁺ stores in the shRNA-Bin1 fibers. Human mutation of Bin1 is associated with centronuclear myopathy and SH3 domain of Bin1 is important for sarcomeric protein organization in skeletal muscle. Our study showing the importance of Bin1 in the maintenance of intact t-tubule structure and ([Ca²⁺]i) homeostasis in adult skeletal muscle could provide mechanistic insight on the potential role of Bin1 in skeletal muscle contractility and pathology of myopathy.

Store-operated Calcium Entry is Present in HL-1 Cardiomyocytes and Contributes to Resting Calcium

Store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) has recently been shown to be of physiological and pathological importance in the heart, particularly during cardiac hypertrophy. However, measuring changes in intracellular Ca(2+) during SOCE is very difficult to study in adult primary cardiomyocytes. As a result there is a need for a stable and reliable in vitro model of SOCE which can be used to test cardiac drugs and investigate the role of SOCE in cardiac pathology. HL-1 cells are the only immortal cardiomyocyte cell line available that continuously divides and spontaneously contracts while maintaining phenotypic characteristics of the adult cardiomyocyte. To date the role of SOCE has not yet been investigated in the HL-1 cardiac cell line. We report for the first time that these cells expressed stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) and the Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channel Orai1, which are essential components of the SOCE machinery. In addition, SOCE was tightly coupled to sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR)-Ca(2+) release in HL-1 cells, and such response was not impaired in the presence of voltage dependent Ca(2+) channels (L-type and T-type channels) or reverse mode Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (NCX) inhibitors. We were able to abolish the SOCE response with known SOCE inhibitors (BTP-2 and SKF-96365) and by targeted knockdown of Orai1 with RNAi. In addition, knockdown of Orai1 resulted in lower baseline Ca(2+) and an attenuated response to thapsigargin (TG) and caffeine, indicating that SOCE may play a role in Ca(2+) homeostasis during unstressed conditions in cardiomyocytes. Currently, there is little knowledge about SOCE in cardiomyocytes, and the present results suggest that HL-1 cells will be of great utility in investigating the role of SOCE in the heart.

Aging, Sarcopenia and Store-operated Calcium Entry: A Common Link?

Comment on: Thornton AM, et al. Aging 2011; 3:621-34.

Kruppel-like Factor 15 Regulates Skeletal Muscle Lipid Flux and Exercise Adaptation

The ability of skeletal muscle to enhance lipid utilization during exercise is a form of metabolic plasticity essential for survival. Conversely, metabolic inflexibility in muscle can cause organ dysfunction and disease. Although the transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) is an important regulator of glucose and amino acid metabolism, its endogenous role in lipid homeostasis and muscle physiology is unknown. Here we demonstrate that KLF15 is essential for skeletal muscle lipid utilization and physiologic performance. KLF15 directly regulates a broad transcriptional program spanning all major segments of the lipid-flux pathway in muscle. Consequently, Klf15-deficient mice have abnormal lipid and energy flux, excessive reliance on carbohydrate fuels, exaggerated muscle fatigue, and impaired endurance exercise capacity. Elucidation of this heretofore unrecognized role for KLF15 now implicates this factor as a central component of the transcriptional circuitry that coordinates physiologic flux of all three basic cellular nutrients: glucose, amino acids, and lipids.

Sarcopenia: Pharmacology Today and Tomorrow

Sarcopenia remains largely undiagnosed and undertreated, because of the lack of a universally accepted definition, effective ways to measure it, and identification of the outcomes that should guide treatment efficacy. An ever growing number of clinicians and researchers along with funding and regulatory agencies have gradually recognized that sarcopenia is a human condition that requires both prevention and treatment. In this "Pharmacology in Perspective: article, we briefly reviewed sarcopenia; its common and less known pharmacological treatments, and attempted to define sarcopenia in its broader context, and presented some new ideas for potential future treatment for this devastating condition.  

Application of the M Technique in Hospitalized Very Preterm Infants: a Feasibility Study

: To explore the application of a novel relaxation method (the M Technique) in hospitalized very preterm infants in a level IIIC neonatal intensive care unit.

Prostaglandin E2: From Clinical Applications to Its Potential Role in Bone-Muscle Crosstalk and Myogenic Differentiation

Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a prostanoid synthesized from arachidonic acid via the cyclooxygenase pathway, is a modulator of physiological responses including inflammation, fever, and muscle regeneration. Several patents have been filed that are related to PGE2, one of them being directly related to skeletal muscles. In this report, we first summarize the key patents describing inventions for the utilization of PGE2 for either diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, including skeletal muscle. In the second part of our work we present new and exciting data that demonstrates that PGE2 accelerates skeletal muscle myogenic differentiation. Our discovery resulted from our recent and novel concept of bone-muscle crosstalk. Bone and muscle are anatomically intimate endocrine organs and we aimed to determine whether this anatomical intimacy also translates into a biochemical communication from bone cells to muscle cells at the in vitro level. The effects of MLOY4 osteocyte-like cell conditioned medium (CM) and three osteocyte-secreted factors, PGE2, sclerostin and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP-3), on C2C12 myogenic differentiation were evaluated using morphological analyses, a customized 96-gene PCR array, and measurements of intracellular calcium levels. MLO-Y4 CM and PGE2, but not sclerostin and MCP-3, induced acceleration of myogenesis of C2C12 myoblasts that was linked with significant modifications in intracellular calcium homeostasis. This finding should further stimulate the pursuit of new patents to explore the use of PGE2 and the new concept of bone-muscle crosstalk for the development and application of inventions designed to treat muscle diseases characterized by enhanced muscle wasting, such as sarcopenia.

Jatropha Curcas: From Biodiesel Generation to Medicinal Applications

Jatropha curcas (JC) is a multipurpose perennial plant that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is native to arid and semiarid tropical regions worldwide. It has many attributes and considerable potential for renewable energy, fish and livestock feeding. Despite its rich application as a renewable source and for animal feeding, JC has barely been explored for its medicinal potential. Here we review several patents related to JC that show it has been underused for medicinal purposes. For example, only one invention disclosure to date utilizes JC, combined with three other plants, in a preparation for wound healing. Motivated by support from the Brazilian funding agencies and anecdotal accounts in Brazil of the medicinal value of JC, we performed a series of pilot studies that demonstrate that JC is able to protect skeletal muscle cells in vitro against the deleterious effects of ethanol. We were able to determine that JC's effects are mediated by the up regulation of HSP60, a critical mitochondrial heat shock related protein that is essential for intracellular REDOX regulation. Given the fact that ethanol myopathy accounts for more than 50% of all cases of myopathy worldwide, we hope that our studies will sparkle new interest from the scientific community to explore the medicinal properties of Jatropha curcas, including the development of new patents leading to new drugs and new targets for the treatment of muscle diseases and other human diseases.

Hyperthermia: From Diagnostic and Treatments to New Discoveries

Hyperthermia is an important approach for the treatment of several diseases. Hyperthermia is also thought to induce hypertrophy of skeletal muscles in vitro and in vivo, and has been used as a therapeutic tool for millennia. In the first part of our work, we revise several relevant patents related to the utilization of hyperthermia for the treatment and diagnostic of human diseases. In the second part, we present exciting new data on the effects of forced and natural overexpression of HSP72, using murine in vitro (muscle cells) and ex vivo (primary skeletal muscles) models. These studies help to demonstrate that hyperthermia effects are orchestrated by tight coupling between gene expression, protein function, and intracellular Ca2+ signaling pathways with a key role for calcium-induced calcium release. We hope that the review of current patents along with previous unknown information on molecular signaling pathways that underlie the hypertrophy response to hyperthermia in skeletal muscles may trigger the curiosity of scientists worldwide to explore new inventions that fully utilize hyperthermia for the treatment of muscle diseases.

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