Gamma-Actinin, a new regulatory protein from rabbit skeletal muscle. I. Purification and characterization.
A new regulatory protein which we have designated as gamma-actinin has been isolated from native thin filaments of rabbit skeletal muscle. Depolymerized native thin filaments were fractionated by salting out with ammonium sulfate, and the precipitates obtained at 40--60% ammonium sulfate saturation were further subjected to DEAE-Sephadex and Sephadex G-200 column chromatography. The purified gamma-actinin was shown to have a chain weight of 35,000 daltons and had a strong inhibitory action on the polymerization of G-actin. The results of amino acid analysis indicated a unique amino acid composition of gamma-actinin as compared with other structural proteins of muscle. Non-polar and neutral amino acid residues were abundant. One cysteine residue was contained per one molecule of gamma-actinin and played a critical role in the maintenance of the inhibitory activity. Pelleting of gamma-actinin with F-actin showed that gamma-actinin binds to F-action. (+info
Polypyrimidine tract binding protein functions as a repressor to regulate alternative splicing of alpha-actinin mutally exclusive exons.
The smooth muscle (SM) and nonmuscle (NM) isoforms of alpha-actinin are produced by mutually exclusive splicing of an upstream NM exon and a downstream SM-specific exon. A rat alpha-actinin genomic clone encompassing the mutually exclusive exons was isolated and sequenced. The SM exon was found to utilize two branch points located 382 and 386 nucleotides (nt) upstream of the 3' splice site, while the NM exon used a single branch point 191 nt upstream. Mutually exclusive splicing arises from the proximity of the SM branch points to the NM 5' splice site, and this steric repression could be relieved in part by the insertion of spacer elements. In addition, the SM exon is repressed in non-SM cells and extracts. In vitro splicing of spacer-containing transcripts could be activated by (i) truncation of the transcript between the SM polypyrimidine tract and exon, (ii) addition of competitor RNAs containing the 3' end of the actinin intron or regulatory sequences from alpha-tropomyosin (TM), and (iii) depletion of the splicing extract by using biotinylated alpha-TM RNAs. A number of lines of evidence point to polypyrimidine tract binding protein (PTB) as the trans-acting factor responsible for repression. PTB was the only nuclear protein observed to cross-link to the actinin RNA, and the ability of various competitor RNAs to activate splicing correlated with their ability to bind PTB. Furthermore, repression of alpha-actinin splicing in the nuclear extracts depleted of PTB by using biotinylated RNA could be specifically restored by the addition of recombinant PTB. Thus, alpha-actinin mutually exclusive splicing is enforced by the unusual location of the SM branch point, while constitutive repression of the SM exon is conferred by regulatory elements between the branch point and 3' splice site and by PTB. (+info
Tropomodulin assembles early in myofibrillogenesis in chick skeletal muscle: evidence that thin filaments rearrange to form striated myofibrils.
Actin filament lengths in muscle and nonmuscle cells are believed to depend on the regulated activity of capping proteins at both the fast growing (barbed) and slow growing (pointed) filament ends. In striated muscle, the pointed end capping protein, tropomodulin, has been shown to maintain the lengths of thin filaments in mature myofibrils. To determine whether tropomodulin might also be involved in thin filament assembly, we investigated the assembly of tropomodulin into myofibrils during differentiation of primary cultures of chick skeletal muscle cells. Our results show that tropomodulin is expressed early in differentiation and is associated with the earliest premyofibrils which contain overlapping and misaligned actin filaments. In addition, tropomodulin can be found in actin filament bundles at the distal tips of growing myotubes, where sarcomeric alpha-actinin is not always detected, suggesting that tropomodulin caps actin filament pointed ends even before the filaments are cross-linked into Z bodies by alpha-actinin. Tropomodulin staining exhibits an irregular punctate pattern along the length of premyofibrils that demonstrate a smooth phalloidin staining pattern for F-actin. Strikingly, the tropomodulin dots often appear to be located between the closely spaced, dot-like Z bodies that are stained for (&agr;)-actinin. Thus, in the earliest premyofibrils, the pointed ends of the thin filaments are clustered and partially aligned with respect to the Z bodies (the location of the barbed filament ends). At later stages of differentiation, the tropomodulin dots become aligned into regular periodic striations concurrently with the appearance of striated phalloidin staining for F-actin and alignment of Z bodies into Z lines. Tropomodulin, together with the barbed end capping protein, CapZ, may function from the earliest stages of myofibrillogenesis to restrict the lengths of newly assembled thin filaments by capping their ends; thus, transitions from nonstriated to striated myofibrils in skeletal muscle are likely due principally to filament rearrangements rather than to filament polymerization or depolymerization. Rearrangements of actin filaments capped at their pointed and barbed ends may be a general mechanism by which cells restructure their actin cytoskeletal networks during cell growth and differentiation. (+info
An alpha-actinin binding site of zyxin is essential for subcellular zyxin localization and alpha-actinin recruitment.
The LIM domain protein zyxin is a component of adherens type junctions, stress fibers, and highly dynamic membrane areas and appears to be involved in microfilament organization. Chicken zyxin and its human counterpart display less than 60% sequence identity, raising concern about their functional identity. Here, we demonstrate that human zyxin, like the avian protein, specifically interacts with alpha-actinin. Furthermore, we map the interaction site to a motif of approximately 22 amino acids, present in the N-terminal domain of human zyxin. This motif is both necessary and sufficient for alpha-actinin binding, whereas a downstream region, which is related in sequence, appears to be dispensable. A synthetic peptide comprising human zyxin residues 21-42 specifically binds to alpha-actinin in solid phase binding assays. In contrast to full-length zyxin, constructs lacking this motif do not interact with alpha-actinin in blot overlays and fail to recruit alpha-actinin in living cells. When zyxin lacking the alpha-actinin binding site is expressed as a fusion protein with green fluorescent protein, association of the recombinant protein with stress fibers is abolished, and targeting to focal adhesions is grossly impaired. Our results suggest a crucial role for the alpha-actinin-zyxin interaction in subcellular zyxin localization and microfilament organization. (+info
Viscoelastic properties of f-actin, microtubules, f-actin/alpha-actinin, and f-actin/hexokinase determined in microliter volumes with a novel nondestructive method.
A nondestructive method to determine viscoelastic properties of gels and fluids involves an oscillating glass fiber serving as a sensor for the viscosity of the surrounding fluid. Extremely small displacements (typically 1-100 nm) are caused by the glass rod oscillating at its resonance frequency. These displacements are analyzed using a phase-sensitive acoustic microscope. Alterations of the elastic modulus of a fluid or gel change the propagation speed of a longitudinal acoustic wave. The system allows to study quantities as small as 10 microliters with temporal resolution >1 Hz. For 2-100 microM f-actin gels a final viscosity of 1.3-9.4 mPa s and a final elastic modulus of 2.229-2.254 GPa (corresponding to 1493-1501 m/s sound velocity) have been determined. For 10- to 100-microM microtubule gels (native, without stabilization by taxol), a final viscosity of 1.5-124 mPa s and a final elastic modulus of 2.288-2. 547 GPa (approximately 1513-1596 m/s) have been determined. During polymerization the sound velocity in low-concentration actin solutions increased up to +1.3 m/s (approximately 1.69 kPa) and decreased up to -7 m/s (approximately 49 kPa) at high actin concentrations. On polymerization of tubulin a concentration-dependent decrease of sound velocity was observed, too (+48 to -12 m/s approximately 2.3-0.1 MPa, for 10- to 100-microM tubulin). This decrease was interpreted by a nematic phase transition of the actin filaments and microtubules with increasing concentration. 2 mM ATP (when compared to 0.2 mM ATP) increased polymerization rate, final viscosity and elastic modulus of f-actin (17 microM). The actin-binding glycolytic enzyme hexokinase also accelerated the polymerization rate and final viscosity but elastic modulus (2.26 GPa) was less than for f-actin polymerized in presence of 0.2 mM ATP (2.28 GPa). (+info
Cardiac microvascular endothelial cells express alpha-smooth muscle actin and show low NOS III activity.
We established a culture system of porcine coronary microvascular endothelial cells (MVEC) with high cellular yield and purity >98%. Endothelial origin was confirmed by immunostaining, immunoblotting and fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis using low-density lipoprotein uptake, CD31, von Willebrand factor, and the lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin. MVEC were positive for alpha-smooth muscle actin in culture and in myocardium, as confirmed by FACS. Of the primary MVEC, approximately 30% expressed nitric oxide synthase (NOS) III in numbers decreasing from the first passage (6 +/- 1%) to the second passage (4 +/- 1%; P < 0.001 vs. primary isolates), whereas approximately 100% of aortic endothelial cells (AEC) expressed NOS III. In AEC, NOS III activity (pmol citrulline. mg protein-1. min-1) was 80 +/- 10 and was nearly abolished in the absence of calcium (5 +/- 1, P < 0.001). In primary MVEC, however, NOS III activity in the presence and absence of calcium was 20 +/- 4 and 25 +/- 5, respectively. We conclude that cardiac MVEC, in contrast to AEC, contain alpha-smooth muscle actin, show low-grade NOS III activity, and provide a suitable in vitro system for the study of endothelial pathophysiology. (+info
Myotilin, a novel sarcomeric protein with two Ig-like domains, is encoded by a candidate gene for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.
The striated muscle sarcomeres are highly organized structures composed of actin (thin) and myosin (thick) filaments that slide past each other during contraction. The integrity of sarcomeres is controlled by a set of structural proteins, among which are titin, a giant molecule that contains several immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domains and associates with thin and thick filaments, and [alpha]-actinin, an actin cross-linking protein. Mutations in several sarcomeric and sarcolemmal proteins have been shown to result in muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy. On the other hand, the disease genes underlying several disease forms remain to be identified. Here we describe a novel 57 kDa cytoskeletal protein, myotilin. Its N-terminal sequence is unique, but the C-terminal half contains two Ig-like domains homologous to titin. Myotilin is expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscle, it co-localizes with [alpha]-actinin in the sarcomeric I--bands and directly interacts with [alpha]-actinin. The human myotilin gene maps to chromosome 5q31 between markers AFM350yB1 and D5S500. The locus of a dominantly inherited limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD1A) resides in an overlapping narrow segment, and a new type of distal myopathy with vocal cord and pharyngeal weakness (VCPMD) has been mapped to the same locus. The muscle specificity and apparent role as a sarcomeric structural protein raise the possibility that defects in the myotilin gene may cause muscular dystrophy. (+info
Postmortem proteolysis and calpain/calpastatin activity in callipyge and normal lamb biceps femoris during extended postmortem storage.
The present experiment was conducted to determine whether calpastatin inhibits only the rate, or both the rate and extent, of calpain-induced postmortem proteolysis. Biceps femoris from normal (n = 6) and callipyge (n = 6) lamb was stored for 56 d at 4 degrees C. Calpastatin activity was higher (P < .05) in the callipyge muscle at 0 and 14 d postmortem, but not at 56 d postmortem. The activity of mu-calpain did not differ between normal and callipyge biceps femoris at 0 and 56 d postmortem (P > .05), but was higher at 14 d postmortem in the callipyge muscle (P < 0.05). The activity of m-calpain was higher in the callipyge muscle (P < 0.05). Western blot analyses of titin, nebulin, dystrophin, myosin heavy chain, vinculin, alpha-actinin, desmin, and troponin-T indicated that postmortem proteolysis was less extensive in callipyge than in normal biceps femoris at all postmortem times. The results of this experiment indicate that calpastatin inhibits both the rate and extent of postmortem proteolysis. (+info