Analysis of a Jup hypomorphic allele reveals a critical threshold for postnatal viability.
ABSTRACT Mutations in the human Jup gene cause arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a heart muscle disease that often leads to sudden cardiac death. Inactivation of the murine Jup gene (also known as plakoglobin) results in embryonic lethality due to cardiac rupture. In an effort to generate a conditional knockout allele, a neomycin cassette was introduced into the murine plakoglobin (PG) gene. This allele (PG F(N) ) functions as a hypomorph when combined with a null allele (PG Δ). About half of the PG F(N) /Δ animals were smaller than their littermates and died before weaning age, whereas the remaining PG F(N) /Δ animals survived. Despite the reduced levels of PG in the heart, there were no signs of cardiomyopathy or cardiac dysfunction as determined by echocardiography. Importantly, the PG homolog, β-catenin (CTNNB1), was increased in the PG F(N) /Δ hearts. In addition to its structural role as part of the N-cadherin/catenin adhesion complex, β-catenin is a downstream effector of Wnt signaling. However, no change in β-catenin/TCF reporter activity was observed in PG F(N) /Δ embryos suggesting that excess β-catenin was not likely causing increased transcription of Wnt/β-catenin target genes. These data suggest novel function(s) for PG beyond the heart and define a critical threshold of PG expression that is necessary for postnatal survival. genesis 50:717-727, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in genes encoding desmosomal proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of heart and skin diseases. This has led to the hypothesis that defective cell-cell adhesion is the underlying cause of injury in tissues that repeatedly bear high mechanical loads. In this study, we examined the effects of two different mutations in plakoglobin on cell migration, stiffness, and adhesion. One is a C-terminal mutation causing Naxos disease, a recessive syndrome of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and abnormal skin and hair. The other is an N-terminal mutation causing dominant inheritance of ARVC without cutaneous abnormalities. To assess the effects of plakoglobin mutations on a broad range of cell mechanical behavior, we characterized a model system consisting of stably transfected HEK cells which are particularly well suited for analyses of cell migration and adhesion. Both mutations increased the speed of wound healing which appeared to be related to increased cell motility rather than increased cell proliferation. However, the C-terminal mutation led to dramatically decreased cell-cell adhesion, whereas the N-terminal mutation caused a decrease in cell stiffness. These results indicate that different mutations in plakoglobin have markedly disparate effects on cell mechanical behavior, suggesting complex biomechanical roles for this protein.Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 11/2008; 65(12):964-78. · 4.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Using immunofluorescence histochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy on sections through myocardiac tissues of diverse mammalian (human, cow, rat, mouse) and fish species we show that both desmosomal and fascia adhaerens proteins identified by gel electrophoresis and immunoblot occur in the area composita, the by far major type of plaque-bearing junctions of the intercalated disks (IDs) connecting cardiomyocytes. Specifically, we demonstrate that desmoplakin and the other desmosomal proteins occur in these junctions, together with N-cadherin, cadherin-11, alpha- and beta-catenin as well as vinculin, afadin and proteins p120(ctn), ARVCF, p0071, and ZO-1, suggestive of colocalization. We conclude that the predominant type of adhering junction present in IDs is a junction sui generis, termed area composita, that is characterized by an unusually high molecular complexity and an intimate association of molecules of both ensembles, the desmosomal one and the fascia adhaerens category. We discuss possible myocardium-specific, complex-forming interactions between members of the two ensembles and the relevance of our findings for the formation and functioning of the heart and for the understanding of hereditary and other cardiomyopathies. We further propose to use this highly characteristic area composita ensemble of molecules as cardiomyocyte markers for the monitoring of cardiomyogenesis, cardiomyocyte regeneration and possible cardiomyocyte differentiation from mesenchymal stem cells.European Journal of Cell Biology 07/2006; 85(6):469-85. · 3.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: LEF/TCF DNA-binding proteins act in concert with activated beta -catenin, the product of Wnt signaling, to transactivate downstream target genes. To probe the role of activated LEF/TCF transcription factor complexes in hair follicle morphogenesis and differentiation, we engineered mice harboring TOPGAL, a beta -galactosidase gene under the control of a LEF/TCF and beta -catenin inducible promoter. In mice, TOPGAL expression was directly stimulated by a stabilized form of beta -catenin, but was also dependent upon LEF1/TCF3 in skin. During embryogenesis, TOPGAL activation occurred transiently in a subset of LEF1-positive cells of pluripotent ectoderm and underlying mesenchyme. Downgrowth of initiated follicles proceeded in the absence of detectable TOPGAL expression, even though LEF1 was still expressed. While proliferative matrix cells expressed the highest levels of Lef1 mRNAs, LEF1 concentrated in the precursor cells to the hair shaft, where TOPGAL expression was co-induced with hair-specific keratin genes containing LEF/TCF-binding motifs. LEF1 and TOPGAL expression ceased during catagen and telogen, but reappeared at the start of the postnatal hair cycle, concomitant with precortex formation. In contrast to hair shaft precursor cells, postnatal outer root sheath expressed TCF3, but not TOPGAL. TCF3 was also expressed in the putative follicle stem cells, and while TOPGAL was generally silent in this compartment, it was stimulated at the start of the hair cycle in a fashion that appeared to be dependent upon stabilization of beta -catenin. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that LEF1/TCF3 is necessary but not sufficient for TOPGAL activation, revealing the existence of positive and negative regulators of these factors in the skin. Furthermore, our findings unveil the importance of activated LEF/TCF complexes at distinct times in hair development and cycling when changes in cell fate and differentiation commitments take place.Development 11/1999; 126(20):4557-68. · 6.21 Impact Factor