(1/2643) Evidence for F-actin-dependent and -independent mechanisms involved in assembly and stability of the medial actomyosin ring in fission yeast.

Cell division in a number of eukaryotes, including the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, is achieved through a medially placed actomyosin-based contractile ring. Although several components of the actomyosin ring have been identified, the mechanisms regulating ring assembly are still not understood. Here, we show by biochemical and mutational studies that the S.pombe actomyosin ring component Cdc4p is a light chain associated with Myo2p, a myosin II heavy chain. Localization of Myo2p to the medial ring depended on Cdc4p function, whereas localization of Cdc4p at the division site was independent of Myo2p. Interestingly, the actin-binding and motor domains of Myo2p are not required for its accumulation at the division site although the motor activity of Myo2p is essential for assembly of a normal actomyosin ring. The initial assembly of Myo2p and Cdc4p at the division site requires a functional F-actin cytoskeleton. Once established, however, F-actin is not required for the maintenance of Cdc4p and Myo2p medial rings, suggesting that the attachment of Cdc4p and Myo2p to the division site involves proteins other than actin itself.  (+info)

(2/2643) Regulation of chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart by Irx4.

The vertebrate heart consists of two types of chambers, the atria and the ventricles, which differ in their contractile and electrophysiological properties. Little is known of the molecular mechanisms by which these chambers are specified during embryogenesis. Here a chicken iroquois-related homeobox gene, Irx4, was identified that has a ventricle-restricted expression pattern at all stages of heart development. Irx4 protein was shown to regulate the chamber-specific expression of myosin isoforms by activating the expression of the ventricle myosin heavy chain-1 (VMHC1) and suppressing the expression of the atrial myosin heavy chain-1 (AMHC1) in the ventricles. Thus, Irx4 may play a critical role in establishing chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart.  (+info)

(3/2643) Chlamydia infections and heart disease linked through antigenic mimicry.

Chlamydia infections are epidemiologically linked to human heart disease. A peptide from the murine heart muscle-specific alpha myosin heavy chain that has sequence homology to the 60-kilodalton cysteine-rich outer membrane proteins of Chlamydia pneumoniae, C. psittaci, and C. trachomatis was shown to induce autoimmune inflammatory heart disease in mice. Injection of the homologous Chlamydia peptides into mice also induced perivascular inflammation, fibrotic changes, and blood vessel occlusion in the heart, as well as triggering T and B cell reactivity to the homologous endogenous heart muscle-specific peptide. Chlamydia DNA functioned as an adjuvant in the triggering of peptide-induced inflammatory heart disease. Infection with C. trachomatis led to the production of autoantibodies to heart muscle-specific epitopes. Thus, Chlamydia-mediated heart disease is induced by antigenic mimicry of a heart muscle-specific protein.  (+info)

(4/2643) Processing of endogenous pre-mRNAs in association with SC-35 domains is gene specific.

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)

(5/2643) Myogenic signaling of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase requires the serine-threonine kinase Akt/protein kinase B.

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)

(6/2643) Coexistence of mitochondrial DNA and beta myosin heavy chain mutations in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with late congestive heart failure.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the possible coexistence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in patients with beta myosin heavy chain (beta MHC) linked hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) who develop congestive heart failure. DESIGN: Molecular analysis of beta MHC and mtDNA gene defects in patients with HCM. SETTING: Cardiovascular molecular diagnostic and heart transplantation reference centre in north Italy. PATIENTS: Four patients with HCM who underwent heart transplantation for end stage heart failure, and after pedigree analysis of 60 relatives, eight additional affected patients and 27 unaffected relatives. A total of 111 unrelated healthy adult volunteers served as controls. Disease controls included an additional 27 patients with HCM and 102 with dilated cardiomyopathy. INTERVENTION: Molecular analysis of DNA from myocardial and skeletal muscle tissue and from peripheral blood specimens. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Screening for mutations in beta MHC (exons 3-23) and mtDNA tRNA (n = 22) genes with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis or single strand conformational polymorphism followed by automated DNA sequencing. RESULTS: One proband (kindred A) (plus seven affected relatives) had arginine 249 glutamine (Arg249Gln) beta MHC and heteroplasmic mtDNA tRNAIle A4300G mutations. Another unrelated patient (kindred B) with sporadic HCM had identical mutations. The remaining two patients (kindred C), a mother and son, had a novel beta MHC mutation (lysine 450 glutamic acid) (Lys450Glu) and a heteroplasmic missense (T9957C, phenylalanine (Phe)-->leucine (Leu)) mtDNA mutation in subunit III of the cytochrome C oxidase gene. The amount of mutant mtDNA was higher in the myocardium than in skeletal muscle or peripheral blood and in affected patients than in asymptomatic relatives. Mutations were absent in the controls. Pathological and biochemical characteristics of patients with mutations Arg249Gln plus A4300G (kindreds A and B) were identical, but different from those of the two patients with Lys450Glu plus T9957C(Phe-->Leu) mutations (kindred C). Cytochrome C oxidase activity and histoenzymatic staining were severely decreased in the two patients in kindreds A and B, but were unaffected in the two in kindred C. CONCLUSIONS: beta MHC gene and mtDNA mutations may coexist in patients with HCM and end stage congestive heart failure. Although beta MHC gene mutations seem to be the true determinants of HCM, both mtDNA mutations in these patients have known prerequisites for pathogenicity. Coexistence of other genetic abnormalities in beta MHC linked HCM, such as mtDNA mutations, may contribute to variable phenotypic expression and explain the heterogeneous behaviour of HCM.  (+info)

(7/2643) Altered crossbridge kinetics in the alphaMHC403/+ mouse model of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

A mutation in the cardiac beta-myosin heavy chain, Arg403Gln (R403Q), causes a severe form of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) in humans. We used small-amplitude (0.25%) length-perturbation analysis to examine the mechanical properties of skinned left ventricular papillary muscle strips from mouse hearts bearing the R403Q mutation in the alpha-myosin heavy chain (alphaMHC403/+). Myofibrillar disarray with variable penetrance occurred in the left ventricular free wall of the alphaMHC403/+ hearts. In resting strips (pCa 8), dynamic stiffness was approximately 40% greater than in wild-type strips, consistent with elevated diastolic stiffness reported for murine hearts with FHC. At pCa 6 (submaximal activation), strip isometric tension was approximately 3 times higher than for wild-type strips, whereas at pCa 5 (maximal activation), tension was marginally lower. At submaximal calcium activation the characteristic frequencies of the work-producing (b) and work-absorbing (c) steps of the crossbridge were less in alphaMHC403/+ strips than in wild-type strips (b=11+/-1 versus 15+/-1 Hz; c= 58+/-3 versus 66+/-3 Hz; 27 degrees C). At maximal calcium activation, strip oscillatory power was reduced (0. 53+/-0.25 versus 1.03+/-0.18 mW/mm3; 27 degrees C), which is partly attributable to the reduced frequency b, at which crossbridge work is maximum. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the R403Q mutation reduces the strong binding affinity of myosin for actin. Myosin heads may accumulate in a preforce state that promotes cooperative activation of the thin filament at submaximal calcium but blunts maximal tension and oscillatory power output at maximal calcium. The calcium-dependent effect of the mutation (whether facilitating or debilitating), together with a variable degree of fibrosis and myofibrillar disorder, may contribute to the diversity of clinical symptoms observed in murine FHC.  (+info)

(8/2643) Age-related changes in contractile properties of single skeletal fibers from the soleus muscle.

Peak absolute force, specific tension (peak absolute force per cross-sectional area), cross-sectional area, maximal unloaded shortening velocity (Vo; determined by the slack test), and myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform compositions were determined in 124 single skeletal fibers from the soleus muscle of 12-, 24-, 30-, 36-, and 37-mo-old Fischer 344 Brown Norway F1 Hybrid rats. All fibers expressed the type I MHC isoform. The mean Vo remained unchanged from 12 to 24 mo but did decrease significantly from the 24- to 30-mo time period (from 1.71 +/- 0.13 to 0.85 +/- 0.09 fiber lengths/s). Fiber cross-sectional area remained constant until 36 mo of age, at which time there was a 20% decrease from the values at 12 mo of age (from 5,558 +/- 232 to 4,339 +/- 280 micrometer2). A significant decrease in peak absolute force of single fibers occurred between 12 and 24 mo of age (from 51 +/- 2 x 10(-5) to 35 +/- 2 x 10(-5) N) and then remained constant until 36 mo, when another 43% decrease occurred. Like peak absolute force, the specific tension decreased significantly between 12 and 24 mo by 20%, and another 32% decline was observed at 37 mo. Thus, by 24 mo, there was a dissociation between the loss of fiber cross-sectional area and force. The results suggest time-specific changes of the contractile properties with aging that are independent of each other. Underlying mechanisms responsible for the time-dependent and contractile property-specific changes are unknown. Age-related changes in the molecular dynamics of myosin may be the underlying mechanism for altered force production. The presence of more than one beta/slow MHC isoform may be the mechanism for the altered Vo with age.  (+info)