The turnover of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction is regulated in an activity-dependent manner. Upon denervation and under various other pathological conditions, receptor half-life is decreased.
The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor of skeletal muscle is composed of five subunits that are assembled in a stepwise manner. Quality control mechanisms ensure that only fully assembled receptors reach the cell surface. Here, we show that Rer1, a putative Golgi-ER retrieval receptor, is involved in the biogenesis of acetylcholine receptors. Rer1 is expressed in the early secretory pathway in the myoblast line C2C12 and in mouse skeletal muscle, and up-regulated during myogenesis. Upon down-regulation of Rer1 in C2C12 cells, unassembled acetylcholine receptor ?-subunits escape from the ER and are transported to the plasma membrane and lysosomes, where they are degraded. As a result, the amount of fully assembled receptor at the cell surface is reduced. In vivo Rer1 knockdown and genetic inactivation of one Rer1 allele lead to significantly smaller neuromuscular junctions in mice. Our data show that Rer1 is a functionally important unique factor that controls surface expression of muscle acetylcholine receptors by localizing unassembled ?-subunits to the early secretory pathway.
The lifetime of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) is increased from <1 day to >1 week during early postnatal development. However, the exact timing of AChR stabilization is not known, and its correlation to the concurrent embryonic to adult AChR channel conversion, NMJ remodeling, and neuromuscular diseases is unclear. Using a novel time lapse in vivo imaging technology we show that replacement of the entire receptor population of an individual NMJ occurs end plate-specifically within hours. This makes it possible to follow directly in live animals changing stabilities of end plate receptors. In three different, genetically modified mouse models we demonstrate that the metabolic half-life values of synaptic AChRs increase from a few hours to several days after postnatal day 6. Developmental stabilization is independent of receptor subtype and apparently regulated by an intrinsic muscle-specific maturation program. Myosin Va, an F-actin-dependent motor protein, is also accumulated synaptically during postnatal development and thus could mediate the stabilization of end plate AChR.
Mitochondria are crucial organelles in the production of energy and in the control of signalling cascades. A machinery of pro-fusion and fission proteins regulates their morphology and subcellular localization. In muscle this results in an orderly pattern of intermyofibrillar and subsarcolemmal mitochondria. Muscular atrophy is a genetically controlled process involving the activation of the autophagy-lysosome and the ubiquitin-proteasome systems. Whether and how the mitochondria are involved in muscular atrophy is unknown. Here, we show that the mitochondria are removed through autophagy system and that changes in mitochondrial network occur in atrophying muscles. Expression of the fission machinery is per se sufficient to cause muscle wasting in adult animals, by triggering organelle dysfunction and AMPK activation. Conversely, inhibition of the mitochondrial fission inhibits muscle loss during fasting and after FoxO3 overexpression. Mitochondrial-dependent muscle atrophy requires AMPK activation as inhibition of AMPK restores muscle size in myofibres with altered mitochondria. Thus, disruption of the mitochondrial network is an essential amplificatory loop of the muscular atrophy programme.
Myosin V motor proteins facilitate recycling of synaptic receptors, including AMPA and acetylcholine receptors, in central and peripheral synapses, respectively. To shed light on the regulation of receptor recycling, we employed in vivo imaging of mouse neuromuscular synapses. We found that myosin Va cooperates with PKA on the postsynapse to maintain size and integrity of the synapse; this cooperation also regulated the lifetime of acetylcholine receptors. Myosin Va and PKA colocalized in subsynaptic enrichments. These accumulations were crucial for synaptic integrity and proper cAMP signaling, and were dependent on AKAP function, myosin Va, and an intact actin cytoskeleton. The neuropeptide and cAMP agonist, calcitonin-gene related peptide, rescued fragmentation of synapses upon denervation. We hypothesize that neuronal ligands trigger local activation of PKA, which in turn controls synaptic integrity and turnover of receptors. To this end, myosin Va mediates correct positioning of PKA in a postsynaptic microdomain, presumably by tethering PKA to the actin cytoskeleton.
Signalling through protein kinase A (PKA) triggers a multitude of intracellular effects in response to a variety of extracellular stimuli. To guarantee signal specificity, different PKA isoforms are compartmentalised by Akinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) into functional microdomains. By using genetically encoded fluorescent reporters of cAMP concentration that are targeted to the intracellular sites where PKA type I and PKA type II isoforms normally reside, we directly show for the first time spatially and functionally separate PKA microdomains in mouse skeletal muscle in vivo. The reporters localised into clearly distinct patterns within sarcomers, from where they could be displaced by means of AKAP disruptor peptides indicating the presence of disparate PKA type I and PKA type II anchor sites within skeletal muscle fibres. The functional relevance of such differential localisation was underscored by the finding of mutually exclusive and AKAP-dependent increases in [cAMP] in the PKA type I and PKA type II microdomains upon application of different cAMP agonists. Specifically, the sensors targeted to the PKA type II compartment responded only to norepinephrine, whereas those targeted to the PKA type I compartment responded only to alpha-calcitonin gene-related peptide. Notably, in dystrophic mdx mice the localisation pattern of the reporters was altered and the functional separation of the cAMP microdomains was abolished. In summary, our data indicate that an efficient organisation in microdomains of the cAMP/PKA pathway exists in the healthy skeletal muscle and that such organisation is subverted in dystrophic skeletal muscle.
The unconventional motor protein, myosin Va, is crucial for the development of the mouse neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in the early postnatal phase. Furthermore, the cooperative action of protein kinase A (PKA) and myosin Va is essential to maintain the adult NMJ. We here assessed the involvement of myosin Va and PKA in NMJ recovery during muscle regeneration.
The stabilisation of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) at the neuromuscular junction depends on muscle activity and the cooperative action of myosin Va and protein kinase A (PKA) type I. To execute its function, PKA has to be present in a subsynaptic microdomain where it is enriched by anchoring proteins. Here, we show that the AChR-associated protein, rapsyn, interacts with PKA type I in C2C12 and T-REx293 cells as well as in live mouse muscle beneath the neuromuscular junction. Molecular modelling, immunoprecipitation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation approaches identify an ?-helical stretch of rapsyn to be crucial for binding to the dimerisation and docking domain of PKA type I. When expressed in live mouse muscle, a peptide encompassing the rapsyn ?-helical sequence efficiently delocalises PKA type I from the neuromuscular junction. The same peptide, as well as a rapsyn construct lacking the ?-helical domain, induces severe alteration of acetylcholine receptor turnover as well as fragmentation of synapses. This shows that rapsyn anchors PKA type I in close proximity to the postsynaptic membrane and suggests that this function is essential for synapse maintenance.
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