Processing of endogenous pre-mRNAs in association with SC-35 domains is gene specific. (1/1292)

Analysis of six endogenous pre-mRNAs demonstrates that localization at the periphery or within splicing factor-rich (SC-35) domains is not restricted to a few unusually abundant pre-mRNAs, but is apparently a more common paradigm of many protein-coding genes. Different genes are preferentially transcribed and their RNAs processed in different compartments relative to SC-35 domains. These differences do not simply correlate with the complexity, nuclear abundance, or position within overall nuclear space. The distribution of spliceosome assembly factor SC-35 did not simply mirror the distribution of individual pre-mRNAs, but rather suggested that individual domains contain both specific pre-mRNA(s) as well as excess splicing factors. This is consistent with a multifunctional compartment, to which some gene loci and their RNAs have access and others do not. Despite similar molar abundance in muscle fiber nuclei, nascent transcript "trees" of highly complex dystrophin RNA are cotranscriptionally spliced outside of SC-35 domains, whereas posttranscriptional "tracks" of more mature myosin heavy chain transcripts overlap domains. Further analyses supported that endogenous pre-mRNAs exhibit distinct structural organization that may reflect not only the expression and complexity of the gene, but also constraints of its chromosomal context and kinetics of its RNA metabolism.  (+info)

Hindlimb immobilization applied to 21-day-old mdx mice prevents the occurrence of muscle degeneration. (2/1292)

Dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscles of mdx mice undergo their first rounds of degeneration-regeneration at the age of 14-28 days. This feature is thought to result from an increase in motor activity at weaning. In this study, we hypothesize that if the muscle is prevented from contracting, it will avoid the degenerative changes that normally occur. For this purpose, we developed a procedure of mechanical hindlimb immobilization in 3-wk-old mice to restrain soleus (Sol) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in the stretched or shortened position. After a 14-day period of immobilization, the striking feature was the low percentage of regenerated (centronucleated) myofibers in Sol and EDL muscles, regardless of the length at which they were fixed, compared with those on the contralateral side (stretched Sol: 8.4 +/- 6.5 vs. 46.6 +/- 10.3%, P = 0.0008; shortened Sol: 1.2 +/- 1.6 vs. 50.4 +/- 16.4%, P = 0.0008; stretched EDL: 05 +/- 0.5 vs. 32.9 +/- 17.5%, P = 0. 002; shortened EDL: 3.3 +/- 3.1 vs. 34.7 +/- 11.1%, P = 0.002). Total numbers of myofibers did not change with immobilization. This study shows that limb immobilization prevents the occurrence of the first round of myofiber necrosis in mdx mice and suggests that muscle contractions play a role in the skeletal muscle degeneration of dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse muscles.  (+info)

Increased calcium entry into dystrophin-deficient muscle fibres of MDX and ADR-MDX mice is reduced by ion channel blockers. (3/1292)

1. Single fibres were enzymatically isolated from interosseus muscles of dystrophic MDX mice, myotonic-dystrophic double mutant ADR-MDX mice and C57BL/10 controls. The fibres were kept in cell culture for up to 2 weeks for the study of Ca2+ homeostasis and sarcolemmal Ca2+ permeability. 2. Resting levels of intracellular free Ca2+, determined with the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator fura-2, were slightly higher in MDX (63 +/- 20 nM; means +/- s.d.; n = 454 analysed fibres) and ADR-MDX (65 +/- 12 nM; n = 87) fibres than in controls (51 +/- 20 nM; n = 265). 3. The amplitudes of electrically induced Ca2+ transients did not differ between MDX fibres and controls. Decay time constants of Ca2+ transients ranged between 10 and 55 ms in both genotypes. In 50 % of MDX fibres (n = 68), but in only 20 % of controls (n = 54), the decay time constants were > 35 ms. 4. Bath application of Mn2+ resulted in a progressive quench of fura-2 fluorescence emitted from the fibres. The quench rate was about 2 times higher in MDX fibres (3.98 +/- 1.9 % min-1; n = 275) than in controls (2.03 +/- 1.4 % min-1; n = 204). The quench rate in ADR-MDX fibres (2.49 +/- 1.4 % min-1; n = 87) was closer to that of controls. 5. The Mn2+ influx into MDX fibres was reduced to 10 % by Gd3+, to 19 % by La3+ and to 47 % by Ni2+ (all at 50 microM). Bath application of 50 microM amiloride inhibited the Mn2+ influx to 37 %. 6. We conclude that in isolated, resting MDX muscle fibres the membrane permeability for divalent cations is increased. The presumed additional influx of Ca2+ occurs through ion channels, but is well compensated for by effective cellular Ca2+ transport systems. The milder dystrophic phenotype of ADR-MDX mice is correlated with a smaller increase of their sarcolemmal Ca2+ permeability.  (+info)

Characterization of dystrophin and utrophin diversity in the mouse. (4/1292)

Utrophin is a 400 kDa autosomal homolog of dystrophin and a component of the submembranous cytoskeleton. While multiple dystrophin isoforms have been identified along with alternatively spliced products, to date only two different mRNA species of utrophin have been identified. To determine the degree of evolutionary conservation between dystrophin and utrophin isoforms, we have compared their expression patterns in adult mice. Northern blot analysis of multiple adult tissues confirmed that only two major sizes of transcripts are produced from each gene: 13 and 5.5 kb from utrophin and 14 and 4.8 kb from dystrophin. However, western blot analysis detected several putative short utrophin isoforms that may be homologs of the dystrophin isoforms Dp140, Dp116 and Dp71. We also identified an alternatively spliced utrophin transcript that lacks the equivalent of the alternatively spliced dystrophin exon 71. Finally, we demonstrated that the C-terminal domain of utrophin targeted to neuromuscular junctions in normal mice, but localized to the sarcolemma efficiently only in the absence of dystrophin. Our results provide further evidence for a common evolutionary origin of the utrophin and dystrophin genes.  (+info)

Ecto-ATPase activity of alpha-sarcoglycan (adhalin). (5/1292)

alpha-Sarcoglycan is a component of the sarcoglycan complex of dystrophin-associated proteins. Mutations of any of the sarcoglycan genes cause specific forms of muscular dystrophies, collectively termed sarcoglycanopathies. Importantly, a deficiency of any specific sarcoglycan affects the expression of the others. Thus, it appears that the lack of sarcoglycans deprives the muscle cell of an essential, yet unknown function. In the present study, we provide evidence for an ecto-ATPase activity of alpha-sarcoglycan. alpha-Sarcoglycan binds ATP in a Mg2+-dependent and Ca2+-independent manner. The binding is inhibited by 3'-O-(4-benzoyl)benzoyl ATP and ADP. Sequence analysis reveals the existence of a consensus site for nucleotide binding in the extracellular domain of the protein. An antibody against this sequence inhibits the binding of ATP. A dystrophin.dystrophin-associated protein preparation demonstrates a Mg-ATPase activity that is inhibited by the antibody but not by inhibitors of endo-ATPases. In addition, we demonstrate the presence in the sarcolemmal membrane of a P2X-type purinergic receptor. These data suggest that alpha-sarcoglycan may modulate the activity of P2X receptors by buffering the extracellular ATP concentration. The absence of alpha-sarcoglycan in sarcoglycanopathies leaves elevated the concentration of extracellular ATP and the persistent activation of P2X receptors, leading to intracellular Ca2+ overload and muscle fiber death.  (+info)

Characterization of the transmembrane molecular architecture of the dystroglycan complex in schwann cells. (6/1292)

We have demonstrated previously 1) that the dystroglycan complex, but not the sarcoglycan complex, is expressed in peripheral nerve, and 2) that alpha-dystroglycan is an extracellular laminin-2-binding protein anchored to beta-dystroglycan in the Schwann cell membrane. In the present study, we investigated the transmembrane molecular architecture of the dystroglycan complex in Schwann cells. The cytoplasmic domain of beta-dystroglycan was co-localized with Dp116, the Schwann cell-specific isoform of dystrophin, in the abaxonal Schwann cell cytoplasm adjacent to the outer membrane. beta-dystroglycan bound to Dp116 mainly via the 15 C-terminal amino acids of its cytoplasmic domain, but these amino acids were not solely responsible for the interaction of these two proteins. Interestingly, the beta-dystroglycan-precipitating antibody precipitated only a small fraction of alpha-dystroglycan and did not precipitate laminin and Dp116 from the peripheral nerve extracts. Our results indicate 1) that Dp116 is a component of the submembranous cytoskeletal system that anchors the dystroglycan complex in Schwann cells, and 2) that the dystroglycan complex in Schwann cells is fragile compared with that in striated muscle cells. We propose that this fragility may be attributable to the absence of the sarcoglycan complex in Schwann cells.  (+info)

Extensive but coordinated reorganization of the membrane skeleton in myofibers of dystrophic (mdx) mice. (7/1292)

We used immunofluorescence techniques and confocal imaging to study the organization of the membrane skeleton of skeletal muscle fibers of mdx mice, which lack dystrophin. beta-Spectrin is normally found at the sarcolemma in costameres, a rectilinear array of longitudinal strands and elements overlying Z and M lines. However, in the skeletal muscle of mdx mice, beta-spectrin tends to be absent from the sarcolemma over M lines and the longitudinal strands may be disrupted or missing. Other proteins of the membrane and associated cytoskeleton, including syntrophin, beta-dystroglycan, vinculin, and Na,K-ATPase are also concentrated in costameres, in control myofibers, and mdx muscle. They also distribute into the same altered sarcolemmal arrays that contain beta-spectrin. Utrophin, which is expressed in mdx muscle, also codistributes with beta-spectrin at the mutant sarcolemma. By contrast, the distribution of structural and intracellular membrane proteins, including alpha-actinin, the Ca-ATPase and dihydropyridine receptors, is not affected, even at sites close to the sarcolemma. Our results suggest that in myofibers of the mdx mouse, the membrane- associated cytoskeleton, but not the nearby myoplasm, undergoes widespread coordinated changes in organization. These changes may contribute to the fragility of the sarcolemma of dystrophic muscle.  (+info)

Membrane targeting and stabilization of sarcospan is mediated by the sarcoglycan subcomplex. (8/1292)

The dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) is a multisubunit complex that spans the muscle plasma membrane and forms a link between the F-actin cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. The proteins of the DGC are structurally organized into distinct subcomplexes, and genetic mutations in many individual components are manifested as muscular dystrophy. We recently identified a unique tetraspan-like dystrophin-associated protein, which we have named sarcospan (SPN) for its multiple sarcolemma spanning domains (Crosbie, R.H., J. Heighway, D.P. Venzke, J.C. Lee, and K.P. Campbell. 1997. J. Biol. Chem. 272:31221-31224). To probe molecular associations of SPN within the DGC, we investigated SPN expression in normal muscle as a baseline for comparison to SPN's expression in animal models of muscular dystrophy. We show that, in addition to its sarcolemma localization, SPN is enriched at the myotendinous junction (MTJ) and neuromuscular junction (NMJ), where it is a component of both the dystrophin- and utrophin-glycoprotein complexes. We demonstrate that SPN is preferentially associated with the sarcoglycan (SG) subcomplex, and this interaction is critical for stable localization of SPN to the sarcolemma, NMJ, and MTJ. Our experiments indicate that assembly of the SG subcomplex is a prerequisite for targeting SPN to the sarcolemma. In addition, the SG- SPN subcomplex functions to stabilize alpha-dystroglycan to the muscle plasma membrane. Taken together, our data provide important information about assembly and function of the SG-SPN subcomplex.  (+info)