Muscle-specific ankyrins 1 (sAnk1) are a group of small ankyrin 1 isoforms, of which sAnk1.5 is the most abundant. sAnk1 are localized in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane from where they interact with obscurin, a myofibrillar protein. This interaction appears to contribute to stabilize the SR close to the myofibrils. Here we report the structural and functional characterization of skeletal muscles from sAnk1 knockout mice (KO). Deletion of sAnk1 did not change the expression and localization of SR proteins in 4-6 month old sAnk1 KO mice. Structurally, the main modification observed in skeletal muscles of adult sAnk1 KO mice (4-6 months of age) was the reduction of SR volume at the sarcomere A band level. With increasing age (at 12-15 months) EDL skeletal muscles of sAnk1 KO mice develop prematurely large tubular aggregates, whereas diaphragm undergoes significant structural damage. Parallel functional studies revealed specific changes in the contractile performance of muscles from sAnk1 KO mice and a reduced exercise tolerance in an endurance test on treadmill compared to control mice. Moreover, reduced Q? charge and L-type Ca(2+)current, that are indexes of affected e-c coupling, were observed in diaphragm fibers from 12-15 month old mice, but not in other skeletal muscles from sAnk1 KO mice. Altogether, these findings show that the ablation of sAnk1, by altering the organization of the SR, renders skeletal muscles susceptible to undergo structural and functional alterations more evident with age, and point to an important contribution of sAnk1 to the maintenance of the longitudinal SR architecture.
A missense mutation in the calsequestrin-1 gene (CASQ1) was found in a group of patients with a myopathy characterized by weakness, fatigue, and the presence of large vacuoles containing characteristic inclusions resulting from the aggregation of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) proteins. The mutation affects a conserved aspartic acid in position 244 (p.Asp244Gly) located in one of the high-affinity Ca(2+) -binding sites of CASQ1 and alters the kinetics of Ca(2+) release in muscle fibers. Expression of the mutated CASQ1 protein in COS-7 cells showed a markedly reduced ability in forming elongated polymers, whereas both in cultured myotubes and in in vivo mouse fibers induced the formation of electron-dense SR vacuoles containing aggregates of the mutant CASQ1 protein that resemble those observed in muscle biopsies of patients. Altogether, these results support the view that a single missense mutation in the CASQ1 gene causes the formation of abnormal SR vacuoles containing aggregates of CASQ1, and other SR proteins, results in altered Ca(2+) release in skeletal muscle fibers, and, hence, is responsible for the clinical phenotype observed in these patients.
The complex of Vacuolar Protein Sorting 34 and 15 (Vps34 and Vps15) has Class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity and putative roles in nutrient sensing, mammalian Target Of Rapamycin (mTOR) activation by amino acids, cell growth, vesicular trafficking and autophagy. Contrary to expectations, here we show that Vps15-deficient mouse tissues are competent for LC3-positive autophagosome formation and maintain mTOR activation. However, an impaired lysosomal function in mutant cells is traced by accumulation of adaptor protein p62, LC3 and Lamp2 positive vesicles, which can be reverted to normal levels after ectopic overexpression of Vps15. Mice lacking Vps15 in skeletal muscles, develop a severe myopathy. Distinct from the autophagy deficient Atg7(-/-) mutants, pathognomonic morphological hallmarks of autophagic vacuolar myopathy (AVM) are observed in Vps15(-/-) mutants, including elevated creatine kinase plasma levels, accumulation of autophagosomes, glycogen and sarcolemmal features within the fibres. Importantly, Vps34/Vps15 overexpression in myoblasts of Danon AVM disease patients alleviates the glycogen accumulation. Thus, the activity of the Vps34/Vps15 complex is critical in disease conditions such as AVMs, and possibly a variety of other lysosomal storage diseases.
Muscle strength declines with age in part due to a decline of Ca(2+) release from sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium stores. Skeletal muscle dihydropyridine receptors (Ca(v)1.1) initiate muscle contraction by activating ryanodine receptors in the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Ca(v)1.1 channel activity is enhanced by a retrograde stimulatory signal delivered by the ryanodine receptor. JP45 is a membrane protein interacting with Ca(v)1.1 and the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) storage protein calsequestrin (CASQ1). Here we show that JP45 and CASQ1 strengthen skeletal muscle contraction by modulating Ca(v)1.1 channel activity. Using muscle fibres from JP45 and CASQ1 double knockout mice, we demonstrate that Ca(2+) transients evoked by tetanic stimulation are the result of massive Ca(2+) influx due to enhanced Ca(v)1.1 channel activity, which restores muscle strength in JP45/CASQ1 double knockout mice. We envision that JP45 and CASQ1 may be candidate targets for the development of new therapeutic strategies against decay of skeletal muscle strength caused by a decrease in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) content.
The neuronal Growth Associated Protein 43 (GAP43), also known as B-50 or neuromodulin, is involved in mechanisms controlling pathfinding and branching of neurons during development and regeneration. For many years this protein was classified as neuron-specific, but recent evidences suggest that a) GAP43 is expressed in the nervous system not only in neurons, but also in glial cells, and b) probably it is present also in other tissues. In particular, its expression was revealed in muscles from patients affected by various myopathies, indicating that GAP43 can no-longer considered only as a neuron-specific molecule. We have investigated the expression and subcellular localization of GAP43 in mouse satellite cells, myotubes, and adult muscle (extensor digitorum longus or EDL) using Western blotting, immuno-fluorescence combined to confocal microscopy and electron microscopy. Our in vitro results indicated that GAP43 is indeed expressed in both myoblasts and differentiating myotubes, and its cellular localization changes dramatically during maturation: in myoblasts the localization appeared to be mostly nuclear, whereas with differentiation the protein started to display a sarcomeric-like pattern. In adult fibers, GAP43 expression was evident with the protein labeling forming (in longitudinal views) a double cross striation reminiscent of the staining pattern of other organelles, such as calcium release units (CRUs) and mitochondria. Double immuno-staining and experiments done in EDL muscles fixed at different sarcomere lengths, allowed us to determine the localization, from the sarcomere Z-line, of GAP43 positive foci, falling between that of CRUs and of mitochondria. Staining of cross sections added a detail to the puzzle: GAP43 labeling formed a reticular pattern surrounding individual myofibrils, but excluding contractile elements. This work leads the way to further investigation about the possible physiological and structural role of GAP43 protein in adult fiber function and disease.
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 Ca(2+)-binding protein inside SR, calsequestrin. Mitochondrial free Ca(2+)-concentration ([Ca(2+)]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 Ca(2+) release units of the SR and mitochondria in dCASQ-null vs. WT fibers. Significant differences in the baseline [Ca(2+)]mito were observed between quiescent WT and dCASQ-null fibers, but not in the resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. The rise in [Ca(2+)]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 [Ca(2+)]mito occurred during sustained contractions. In dCASQ-null fibers the increases in [Ca(2+)]mito were less pronounced than in WT fibers and even lower when extracellular calcium was removed. The amplitude and duration of [Ca(2+)]mito transients were increased by inhibition of mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (mNCX). These results provide direct evidence for fast Ca(2+) accumulation inside the mitochondria, involvement of the mNCX in mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling and a dependence of mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling on intracellular (SR) and external Ca(2+) 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 Ca(2+)-leakage.
Amplitude of Ca(2+) transients, ultrastructure of Ca(2+) release units, and molecular composition of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) are altered in fast-twitch skeletal muscles of calsequestrin-1 (CASQ1)-null mice. To determine whether such changes are directly caused by CASQ1 ablation or are instead the result of adaptive mechanisms, here we assessed ability of CASQ1 in rescuing the null phenotype. In vivo reintroduction of CASQ1 was carried out by cDNA electro transfer in flexor digitorum brevis muscle of the mouse. Exogenous CASQ1 was found to be correctly targeted to the junctional SR (jSR), as judged by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy; terminal cisternae (TC) lumen was filled with electron dense material and its width was significantly increased, as judged by electron microscopy; peak amplitude of Ca(2+) transients was significantly increased compared with null muscle fibers transfected only with green fluorescent protein (control); and finally, transfected fibers were able to sustain cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration during prolonged tetanic stimulation. Only the expression of TC proteins, such as calsequestrin 2, sarcalumenin, and triadin, was not rescued as judged by Western blot. Thus our results support the view that CASQ1 plays a key role in both Ca(2+) homeostasis and TC structure.
Calsequestrin type-1 (CASQ1), the main sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) binding protein, plays a dual role in skeletal fibers: a) it provides a large pool of rapidly-releasable Ca(2+) during excitation-contraction (EC) coupling; and b) it modulates the activity of ryanodine receptors (RYRs), the SR Ca(2+) release channels. We have generated a mouse lacking CASQ1 in order to further characterize the role of CASQ1 in skeletal muscle. Contrary to initial expectations, CASQ1 ablation is compatible with normal motor activity, in spite of moderate muscle atrophy. However, CASQ1 deficiency results in profound remodeling of the EC coupling apparatus: shrinkage of junctional SR lumen; proliferation of SR/transverse-tubule contacts; and increased density of RYRs. While force development during a twitch is preserved, it is nevertheless characterized by a prolonged time course, likely reflecting impaired Ca(2+) re-uptake by the SR. Finally, lack of CASQ1 also results in increased rate of SR Ca(2+) depletion and inability of muscle to sustain tension during a prolonged tetani. All modifications are more pronounced (or only found) in fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus muscle compared to slow-twitch soleus muscle, likely because the latter expresses higher amounts of calsequestrin type-2 (CASQ2). Surprisingly, male CASQ1-null mice also exhibit a marked increased rate of spontaneous mortality suggestive of a stress-induced phenotype. Consistent with this idea, CASQ1-null mice exhibit an increased susceptibility to undergo a hypermetabolic syndrome characterized by whole body contractures, rhabdomyolysis, hyperthermia and sudden death in response to halothane- and heat-exposure, a phenotype remarkably similar to human malignant hyperthermia and environmental heat-stroke. The latter findings validate the CASQ1 gene as a candidate for linkage analysis in human muscle disorders.
The ability to form biofilms contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of many microbial infections, including a variety of ocular diseases often associated with the biofilm formation on foreign materials. Carvacrol (Car.) is an important component of essential oils and recently has attracted much attention pursuant to its ability to promote microbial biofilm disruption. In the present study Car. has been encapsulated in poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) nanocapsules in order to obtain a suitable drug delivery system that could represent a starting point for developing new therapeutic strategies against biofilm-associated infections, such as improving the drug effect by associating an antimicrobial agent with a biofilm viscoelasticity modifier.
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.
Spinal cord injury causes muscle wasting and loss of function, which are especially severe after complete and permanent damage to lower motor neurons. In a previous cross-sectional study, long-standing denervated muscles were rescued by home-based functional electrical stimulation (h-bFES) training.
Malignant hyperthermia (MH) and exertional/environmental heat stroke (EHS) in humans present as similar life threatening crises triggered by volatile anaesthetics and strenuous exercise and/or high temperature, respectively. Many families (70-80%) diagnosed with MH susceptibility (MHS), and a few with EHS, are linked to mutations in the gene for the ryanodine receptor type-1 (RyR1), Ca(2+) release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal muscle and a key protein in excitation-contraction (EC) coupling. However, mutations in the RyR1 gene are not found in all MH families, suggesting that alternative genes remain to be identified. In our laboratory we have recently characterized a novel knockout model lacking skeletal muscle calsequestrin (CASQ1), a SR Ca(2+)-binding protein that modulates RyR1 function, and investigated whether these mice present a MH/EHS-like phenotype. Ablation of CASQ1 results in remodelling of the EC coupling apparatus and functional changes, which in male mice causes a striking increase in the rate of spontaneous mortality and susceptibility to trigger MH-like lethal episodes in response to halothane and heat stress. The demonstration that ablation of CASQ1 results in MH- and EHS-like lethal episodes validates CASQ1 as a viable candidate gene for linkage analysis in MH and EHS families where mutations in RyR1 are excluded.
Calsequestrin-1 (CASQ1) is a moderate-affinity, high-capacity Ca(2+)-binding protein in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) terminal cisternae of skeletal muscle. CASQ1 functions as both a Ca(2+)-binding protein and a luminal regulator of ryanodine receptor (RYR1)-mediated Ca(2+) release. Mice lacking skeletal CASQ1 are viable but exhibit reduced levels of releasable Ca(2+) and altered contractile properties. Here we report that CASQ1-null mice exhibit increased spontaneous mortality and susceptibility to heat- and anesthetic-induced sudden death. Exposure of CASQ1-null mice to either 2% halothane or heat stress triggers lethal episodes characterized by whole-body contractures, elevated core temperature, and severe rhabdomyolysis, which are prevented by prior dantrolene administration. The characteristics of these events are remarkably similar to analogous episodes observed in humans with malignant hyperthermia (MH) and animal models of MH and environmental heat stroke (EHS). In vitro studies indicate that CASQ1-null muscle exhibits increased contractile sensitivity to temperature and caffeine, temperature-dependent increases in resting Ca(2+), and an increase in the magnitude of depolarization-induced Ca(2+) release. These results demonstrate that CASQ1 deficiency alters proper control of RYR1 function and suggest CASQ1 as a potential candidate gene for linkage analysis in families with MH/EHS where mutations in the RYR1 gene are excluded.
Ca2+ release necessary for muscle contraction occurs at the junctional domain of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (j-SR). It requires the assembly of a large multi-protein complex containing the ryanodine receptor (RyR) and additional proteins, including triadin and calsequestrin. The signals which drive these proteins to the j-SR and how they assemble to form this multi-protein complex are poorly understood. To address aspects of these questions we studied the localization, dynamic properties and molecular interactions of triadin. We identified three regions, named TR1, TR2 and TR3, that contribute to the localization of triadin at the j-SR. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments showed that triadin is stably associated with the j-SR and that this association is mediated by TR3. Protein pull-down experiments indicated that TR3 contains binding sites for calsequestrin-1 and that triadin clustering can be enhanced by binding to calsequestrin-1. These findings were confirmed by FRET experiments. Interestingly, the stable association of triadin to the j-SR was significantly decreased in myotubes from calsequestrin-1 knockout mice. Altogether, these results identify three regions in triadin that mediate targeting to the j-SR and reveal a role for calsequestrin-1 in promoting the stable association of triadin to the multi-protein complex associated with RyR.
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