A missense mutation in ATP2A1 gene, encoding SERCA1 protein, causes Chianina cattle congenital pseudomyotonia, an exercise induced impairment of muscle relaxation. Skeletal muscles of affected cattle are characterized by a selective reduction of SERCA1 in sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes. In this paper we provide evidence that the ubiquitin proteasome system is involved in the reduced density of mutated SERCA1. The treatment with MG132, an inhibitor of ubiquitin proteasome system, rescues the expression level and membrane localization of the SERCA1 mutant in a heterologous cellular model. Cells cotransfected with the Ca2+ sensitive probe aequorin, show that the rescued SERCA1 mutant exhibits the same ability of wild-type to maintain Ca2+ homeostasis within cells. These data have been confirmed by those obtained ex vivo on adult skeletal muscle fibers from a biopsy from a pseudomyotonia affected subject. Our data show that the mutation generates a protein most likely corrupted in proper folding but not in catalytic activity. Rescue of mutated SERCA1 to sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane can re-establish resting cytosolic Ca2+ concentration and prevent the appearance of pathological signs of cattle pseudomyotonia.
Many membrane and secretory proteins that fail to pass quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are dislocated into the cytosol and degraded by the proteasome. In applying rigid rules, however, quality control sometimes discharges proteins that, even though defective, retain their function. The unnecessary removal of such proteins represents the pathogenetic hallmark of diverse genetic diseases, in the case of ?F508 mutant of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator being probably the best known example. Recently, the inappropriate proteasomal degradation of skeletal muscle sarcoglycans (?, ?, ? and ?) with missense mutation has been proposed to be at the bases of mild-to-severe forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) known as type 2D, 2E, 2C and 2F, respectively. The quality control pathway responsible for sarcoglycan mutant disposal, however, is so far unexplored. Here we reveal key components of the degradative route of V247M ?-sarcoglycan mutant, the second most frequently reported mutation in LGMD-2D. The disclosure of the pathway, which is led by the E3 ligases HRD1 and RFP2, permits to identify new potential druggable targets of a disease for which no effective therapy is at present available. Notably, we show that the pharmacological inhibition of HRD1 activity rescues the expression of V247-?-sarcoglycan both in a heterologous cell model and in myotubes derived from a LGMD-2D patient carrying the L31P/V247M mutations. This represents the first evidence that the activity of E3 ligases, the enzymes in charge of mutant fate, can be eligible for drug interventions to treat sarcoglycanopathy.
Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a widespread cytokine involved in bone formation, neurite outgrowth, and angiogenesis. In skeletal muscle, PTN is upregulated during myogenesis, post-synaptic induction, and regeneration after crushing, but little is known regarding its effects on muscle function. Here, we describe the effects of PTN on the slow-twitch soleus and fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in mice over-expressing PTN under the control of a bone promoter. The mice were maintained in normal loading or disuse condition, induced by hindlimb unloading (HU) for 14 days. Effects of exposition to near-zero gravity during a 3-months spaceflight (SF) into the Mice Drawer System are also reported. In normal loading, PTN overexpression had no effect on muscle fiber cross-sectional area, but shifted soleus muscle toward a slower phenotype, as shown by an increased number of oxidative type 1 fibers, and increased gene expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV and citrate synthase. The cytokine increased soleus and EDL capillary-to-fiber ratio. PTN overexpression did not prevent soleus muscle atrophy, slow-to-fast transition, and capillary regression induced by SF and HU. Nevertheless, PTN exerted various effects on sarcolemma ion channel expression/function and resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration in soleus and EDL muscles, in normal loading and after HU. In conclusion, the results show very similar effects of HU and SF on mouse soleus muscle, including activation of specific gene programs. The EDL muscle is able to counterbalance this latter, probably by activating compensatory mechanisms. The numerous effects of PTN on muscle gene expression and functional parameters demonstrate the sensitivity of muscle fibers to the cytokine. Although little benefit was found in HU muscle disuse, PTN may emerge useful in various muscle diseases, because it exerts synergetic actions on muscle fibers and vessels, which could enforce oxidative metabolism and ameliorate muscle performance.
Slow-twitch muscles, devoted to postural maintenance, experience atrophy and weakness during muscle disuse due to bed-rest, aging or spaceflight. These conditions impair motion activities and can have survival implications. Human and animal studies demonstrate the anabolic role of IGF-1 on skeletal muscle suggesting its interest as a muscle disuse countermeasure. Thus, we tested the role of IGF-1 overexpression on skeletal muscle alteration due to hindlimb unloading (HU) by using MLC/mIgf-1 transgenic mice expressing IGF-1 under the transcriptional control of MLC promoter, selectively activated in skeletal muscle. HU produced atrophy in soleus muscle, in terms of muscle weight and fiber cross-sectional area (CSA) reduction, and up-regulation of atrophy gene MuRF1. In parallel, the disuse-induced slow-to-fast fiber transition was confirmed by an increase of the fast-type of the Myosin Heavy Chain (MHC), a decrease of PGC-1? expression and an increase of histone deacetylase-5 (HDAC5). Consistently, functional parameters such as the resting chloride conductance (gCl) together with ClC-1 chloride channel expression were increased and the contractile parameters were modified in soleus muscle of HU mice. Surprisingly, IGF-1 overexpression in HU mice was unable to counteract the loss of muscle weight and the decrease of fiber CSA. However, the expression of MuRF1 was recovered, suggesting early effects on muscle atrophy. Although the expression of PGC-1? and MHC were not improved in IGF-1-HU mice, the expression of HDAC5 was recovered. Importantly, the HU-induced increase of gCl was fully contrasted in IGF-1 transgenic mice, as well as the changes in contractile parameters. These results indicate that, even if local expression does not seem to attenuate HU-induced atrophy and slow-to-fast phenotype transition, it exerts early molecular effects on gene expression which can counteract the HU-induced modification of electrical and contractile properties. MuRF1 and HDAC5 can be attractive therapeutic targets for pharmacological countermeasures and then deserve further investigations.
Evidence shows that extracellular ATP signals influence myogenesis, regeneration and physiology of skeletal muscle. Present work was aimed at characterizing the extracellular ATP signaling system of skeletal muscle C2C12 cells during differentiation. We show that mechanical and electrical stimulation produces substantial release of ATP from differentiated myotubes, but not from proliferating myoblasts. Extracellular ATP-hydrolyzing activity is low in myoblasts and high in myotubes, consistent with the increased expression of extracellular enzymes during differentiation. Stimulation of cells with extracellular nucleotides produces substantial Ca(2+) transients, whose amplitude and shape changed during differentiation. Consistently, C2C12 cells express several P2X and P2Y receptors, whose level changes along with maturation stages. Supplementation with either ATP or UTP stimulates proliferation of C2C12 myoblasts, whereas excessive doses were cytotoxic. The data indicate that skeletal muscle development is accompanied by major functional changes in extracellular ATP signaling.
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.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive lipid known to control cell growth that was recently shown to act as a trophic factor for skeletal muscle, reducing the progress of denervation atrophy. The aim of this work was to investigate whether S1P is involved in skeletal muscle fiber recovery (regeneration) after myotoxic injury induced by bupivacaine. The postnatal ability of skeletal muscle to grow and regenerate is dependent on resident stem cells called satellite cells. Immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that S1P-specific receptors S1P(1) and S1P(3) are expressed by quiescent satellite cells. Soleus muscles undergoing regeneration following injury induced by intramuscular injection of bupivacaine exhibited enhanced expression of S1P(1) receptor, while S1P(3) expression progressively decreased to adult levels. S1P(2) receptor was absent in quiescent cells but was transiently expressed in the early regenerating phases only. Administration of S1P (50 microM) at the moment of myotoxic injury caused a significant increase of the mean cross-sectional area of regenerating fibers in both rat and mouse. In separate experiments designed to test the trophic effects of S1P, neutralization of endogenous circulating S1P by intraperitoneal administration of anti-S1P antibody attenuated fiber growth. Use of selective modulators of S1P receptors indicated that S1P(1) receptor negatively and S1P(3) receptor positively modulate the early phases of regeneration, whereas S1P(2) receptor appears to be less important. The present results show that S1P signaling participates in the regenerative processes of skeletal muscle.
It is commonly accepted that skeletal muscles from dystrophin-deficient mdx mice are more susceptible than those from wild-type mice to damage from eccentric contractions. However, the downstream mechanisms involved in this enhanced force drop remain controversial. We studied the reduction of contractile force induced by eccentric contractions elicited in vivo in the gastrocnemius muscle of wild-type mice and three distinct models of muscle dystrophy: mdx, alpha-sarcoglycan (Sgca)-null, and collagen 6A1 (Col6a1)-null mice. In mdx and Sgca-null mice, force decreased 35% compared with 14% in wild-type mice. Drop of force in Col6a1-null mice was comparable to that in wild-type mice. To identify the determinants of the force drop, we measured force generation in permeabilized fibers dissected from gastrocnemius muscle that had been exposed in vivo to eccentric contractions and from the contralateral unstimulated muscle. A force loss in skinned fibers after in vivo eccentric contractions was detectable in fibers from mdx and Sgca-null, but not wild-type and Col6a1-null, mice. The enhanced force reduction in mdx and Sgca-null mice was observed only when eccentric contractions were elicited in vivo, since eccentric contractions elicited in vitro had identical effects in wild-type and dystrophic skinned fibers. These results suggest that 1) the enhanced force loss is due to a myofibrillar impairment that is present in all fibers, and not to individual fiber degeneration, and 2) the mechanism causing the enhanced force reduction is active in vivo and is lost after fiber permeabilization.
Sarcoglycanopathies are a group of autosomal recessive muscle-wasting disorders caused by genetic defects in one of four cell membrane glycoproteins, alpha-, beta-, gamma- or delta-sarcoglycan. These four sarcoglycans form a subcomplex that is closely linked to the major dystrophin-associated protein complex, which is essential for membrane integrity during muscle contraction and provides a scaffold for important signalling molecules. Proper assembly, trafficking and targeting of the sarcoglycan complex is of vital importance, and mutations that severely perturb tetramer formation and localisation result in sarcoglycanopathy. Gene defects in one sarcoglycan cause the absence or reduced concentration of the other subunits. Most genetic defects generate mutated proteins that are degraded through the cells quality control system; however, in many cases, conformational modifications do not affect the function of the protein, yet it is recognised as misfolded and prematurely degraded. Recent evidence shows that misfolded sarcoglycans could be rescued to the cell membrane by assisting their maturation along the ER secretory pathway. This review summarises the etiopathogenesis of sarcoglycanopathies and highlights the quality control machinery as a potential pharmacological target for therapy of these genetic disorders.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate is a bioactive lipid that modulates skeletal muscle growth through its interaction with specific receptors localized in the cell membrane of muscle fibers and satellite cells. This study analyzes the role of S1P(2) receptor during in vivo regeneration of soleus muscle in two models of S1P(2) deficiency: the S1P(2)-null mouse and wild-type mice systemically treated with the S1P(2) receptor antagonist JTE-013. To stimulate regeneration, muscle degeneration was induced by injecting into soleus muscle the myotoxic drug notexin. Both ablation of S1P(2) receptor and its functional inactivation delayed regeneration of soleus muscle. The exogenous supplementation of S1P or its removal, by a specific antibody, two conditions known to stimulate or inhibit, respectively, soleus muscle regeneration, were without effects when the S1P(2) receptor was absent or inactive. The delayed regeneration was associated with a lower level of myogenin, a muscle differentiation marker, and reduced phosphorylation of Akt, a key marker of muscle growth. Consistently, silencing of S1P(2) receptor abrogated the pro-myogenic action of S1P in satellite cells, paralleled by low levels of the myogenic transcription factor myogenin. The study indicates that S1P(2) receptor plays a key role in the early phases of muscle regeneration by sustaining differentiation and growth of new-forming myofibers.
The effect of microgravity on skeletal muscles has so far been examined in rat and mice only after short-term (5-20 day) spaceflights. The mice drawer system (MDS) program, sponsored by Italian Space Agency, for the first time aimed to investigate the consequences of long-term (91 days) exposure to microgravity in mice within the International Space Station. Muscle atrophy was present indistinctly in all fiber types of the slow-twitch soleus muscle, but was only slightly greater than that observed after 20 days of spaceflight. Myosin heavy chain analysis indicated a concomitant slow-to-fast transition of soleus. In addition, spaceflight induced translocation of sarcolemmal nitric oxide synthase-1 (NOS1) into the cytosol in soleus but not in the fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle. Most of the sarcolemmal ion channel subunits were up-regulated, more in soleus than EDL, whereas Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels were down-regulated, consistent with the phenotype transition. Gene expression of the atrophy-related ubiquitin-ligases was up-regulated in both spaceflown soleus and EDL muscles, whereas autophagy genes were in the control range. Muscle-specific IGF-1 and interleukin-6 were down-regulated in soleus but up-regulated in EDL. Also, various stress-related genes were up-regulated in spaceflown EDL, not in soleus. Altogether, these results suggest that EDL muscle may resist to microgravity-induced atrophy by activating compensatory and protective pathways. Our study shows the extended sensitivity of antigravity soleus muscle after prolonged exposition to microgravity, suggests possible mechanisms accounting for the resistance of EDL, and individuates some molecular targets for the development of countermeasures.
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