Specific and innervation-regulated expression of the intermediate filament protein nestin at neuromuscular and myotendinous junctions in skeletal muscle. (1/763)

The intermediate filament proteins nestin, vimentin, and desmin show a specific temporal expression pattern during the development of myofibers from myogenic precursor cells. Nestin and vimentin are actively expressed during early developmental stages to be later down-regulated, vimentin completely and nestin to minimal levels, whereas desmin expression begins later and is maintained in mature myofibers, in which desmin participates in maintaining structural integrity. In this study we have analyzed the expression levels and distribution pattern of nestin in intact and denervated muscle in rat and in human. Nestin immunoreactivity was specifically and focally localized in the sarcoplasm underneath neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and in the vicinity of the myotendinous junctions (MTJs), ie, in regions associated with acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). This association prompted us to analyze nestin in neurogenically and myogenically denervated muscle. Immunoblot analysis disclosed a marked overall increase of accumulated nestin protein. Similar to the extrajunctional redistribution of AChRs in denervated myofibers, nestin immunoreactivity extended widely beyond the NMJ region. Re-innervation caused complete reversion of these changes. Our study demonstrates that the expression levels and distribution pattern of nestin are regulated by innervation, ie, signal transduction into myofibers.  (+info)

Plectin is a linker of intermediate filaments to Z-discs in skeletal muscle fibers. (2/763)

Plectin is a versatile linker protein which is associated with various types of cytoskeletal components and/or filaments including intermediate filaments, and its deficiency causes the disruption of myofibrils, or muscular dystrophy. To better understand the functional role of plectin in skeletal muscle fibers, we have examined the topological and structural relationships of plectin to intermediate filaments and Z-discs in rat diaphragm muscles by confocal and immunoelectron microscopy. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed that plectin was colocalized with desmin at the periphery of Z-discs. This plectin localization around Z-discs was constantly maintained irrespective of the contracted or extended state of the muscle fibers, suggesting either direct or indirect association of plectin with Z-discs. Immunogold labeling in skinned muscle fibers clearly demonstrated that plectin-labeled fine threads linked desmin intermediate filaments to Z-discs and connected intermediate filaments to each other. These results indicate that through plectin threads desmin intermediate filaments form lateral linkages among adjacent Z-discs, preventing individual myofibrils from disruptive contraction and ensuring effective force generation.  (+info)

Myogenic signaling of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase requires the serine-threonine kinase Akt/protein kinase B. (3/763)

The oncogene p3k, coding for a constitutively active form of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), strongly activates myogenic differentiation. Inhibition of endogenous PI 3-kinase activity with the specific inhibitor LY294002, or with dominant-negative mutants of PI 3-kinase, interferes with myotube formation and with the expression of muscle-specific proteins. Here we demonstrate that a downstream target of PI 3-kinase, serine-threonine kinase Akt, plays an important role in myogenic differentiation. Expression of constitutively active forms of Akt dramatically enhances myotube formation and expression of the muscle-specific proteins MyoD, creatine kinase, myosin heavy chain, and desmin. Transdominant negative forms of Akt inhibit myotube formation and the expression of muscle-specific proteins. The inhibition of myotube formation and the reduced expression of muscle-specific proteins caused by the PI 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 are completely reversed by constitutively active forms of Akt. Wild-type cellular Akt effects a partial reversal of LY294002-induced inhibition of myogenic differentiation. This result suggests that Akt can substitute for PI 3-kinase in the stimulation of myogenesis; Akt may be an essential downstream component of PI 3-kinase-induced muscle differentiation.  (+info)

A high molecular weight intermediate filament-associated protein in BHK-21 cells is nestin, a type VI intermediate filament protein. Limited co-assembly in vitro to form heteropolymers with type III vimentin and type IV alpha-internexin. (4/763)

BHK-21 fibroblasts contain type III vimentin/desmin intermediate filament (IF) proteins that typically co-isolate and co-cycle in in vitro experiments with certain high molecular weight proteins. Here, we report purification of one of these and demonstrate that it is in fact the type VI IF protein nestin. Nestin is expressed in several fibroblastic but not epithelioid cell lines. We show that nestin forms homodimers and homotetramers but does not form IF by itself in vitro. In mixtures, nestin preferentially co-assembles with purified vimentin or the type IV IF protein alpha-internexin to form heterodimer coiled-coil molecules. These molecules may co-assemble into 10 nm IF provided that the total amount of nestin does not exceed about 25%. However, nestin does not dimerize with types I/II keratin IF chains. The bulk of the nestin protein consists of a long carboxyl-terminal tail composed of various highly charged peptide repeats. By analogy with the larger neurofilament chains, we postulate that these sequences serve as cross-bridgers or spacers between IF and/or other cytoskeletal constituents. In this way, we propose that direct incorporation of modest amounts of nestin into the backbone of cytoplasmic types III and IV IFs affords a simple yet flexible method for the regulation of their dynamic supramolecular organization and function in cells.  (+info)

Dynamic distribution and formation of a para-sarcomeric banding pattern of prosomes during myogenic differentiation of satellite cells in vitro. (5/763)

Myogenesis proceeds by fusion of proliferating myoblasts into myotubes under the control of various transcription factors. In adult skeletal muscle, myogenic stem cells are represented by the satellite cells which can be cultured and differentiate in vitro. This system was used to investigate the subcellular distribution of a particular type of prosomes at different steps of the myogenic process. Prosomes constitute the MCP core of the 26S proteasomes but were first observed as subcomplexes of the untranslated mRNPs; recently, their RNase activity was discovered. A monoclonal antibody raised against the p27K subunit showed that the p27K subunit-specific prosomes move transiently into the nucleus prior to the onset of myoblast fusion into myotubes; this represents possibly one of the first signs of myoblast switching into the differentiation pathway. Prior to fusion, the prosomes containing the p27K subunit return to the cytoplasm, where they align with the gradually formed lengthwise-running desmin-type intermediate filaments and the microfilaments, co-localizing finally with the actin bundles. The prosomes progressively form discontinuous punctate structures which eventually develop a pseudo-sarcomeric banding pattern. In myotubes just formed in vitro, the formation of this pattern seems to preceed that produced by the muscle-specific sarcomeric (alpha)-actin. Interestingly, this pattern of prosomes of myotubes in terminal in vitro differentiation was very similar to that of prosomes observed in vivo in foetal and adult muscle. These observations are discussed in relation to molecular myogenesis and prosome/proteasome function.  (+info)

Transcriptional activity of MEF2 during mouse embryogenesis monitored with a MEF2-dependent transgene. (6/763)

The four members of the MEF2 family of MADS-box transcription factors, MEF2-A, MEF2-B, MEF2-C and MEF2-D, are expressed in overlapping patterns in developing muscle and neural cell lineages during embryogenesis. However, during late fetal development and postnatally, MEF2 transcripts are also expressed in a wide range of cell types. Because MEF2 expression is controlled by translational and post-translational mechanisms, it has been unclear whether the presence of MEF2 transcripts in the embryo reflects transcriptionally active MEF2 proteins. To define the temporospatial expression pattern of transcriptionally active MEF2 proteins during mouse embryogenesis, we generated transgenic mice harboring a lacZ reporter gene controlled by three tandem copies of the MEF2 site and flanking sequences from the desmin enhancer, which is active in cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle cells. Expression of this MEF2-dependent transgene paralleled expression of MEF2 mRNAs in developing myogenic lineages and regions of the adult brain. However, it was not expressed in other cell types that express MEF2 transcripts. Tandem copies of the MEF2 site from the c-jun promoter directed expression in a similar pattern to the desmin MEF2 site, suggesting that transgene expression reflects the presence of transcriptionally active MEF2 proteins, rather than other factors specific for DNA sequences flanking the MEF2 site. These results demonstrate the presence of transcriptionally active MEF2 proteins in the early muscle and neural cell lineages during embryogenesis and argue against the existence of lineage-restricted MEF2 cofactors that discriminate between MEF2 sites with different immediate flanking sequences. The discordance between MEF2 mRNA expression and MEF2 transcriptional activity in nonmuscle cell types of embryos and adults also supports the notion that post-transcriptional mechanisms regulate the expression of MEF2 proteins.  (+info)

Activated stellate (Ito) cells possess voltage-activated calcium current. (7/763)

We previously reported stellate (Ito) cells possess voltage-activated Ca2+ current. The activation of stellate cells has been indicated to contribute to liver fibrosis and the regulation of hepatic hemodynamics. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between voltage-activated Ca2+ current and activation of stellate cells. Voltage-activated Ca2+ current in stellate cells isolated from rats were studied using whole-cell patch clamp technique. L-type voltage-activated Ca2+ current was hardly detected in stellate cells cultured for less than 9 days. Ca2+ current was detected 12.5 and 69% of cells at the 10th and 14th day of culture, respectively. BrdU incorporation indicated cell proliferation was recognized over 50% of cells at the 3rd and 5th day of culture, respectively, then decreased significantly in a time-dependent manner. On the other hand, the expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin indicated cell activation increased from 7th day of culture and collagen type I mRNA appeared remarkably in cells cultured for more than 10 days. In this study, we concluded L-type voltage-activated Ca2+ current was recognized in activated stellate (myofibroblast-like) cells.  (+info)

Cardiac microvascular endothelial cells express alpha-smooth muscle actin and show low NOS III activity. (8/763)

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)