FER-1/Dysferlin promotes cholinergic signaling at the neuromuscular junction in C. elegans and mice

Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, 700A Clinical Research Building, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, PA 19104 , USA.
Biology Open (Impact Factor: 2.42). 11/2013; 2(11):1245-52. DOI: 10.1242/bio.20135637
Source: PubMed


Dysferlin is a member of the evolutionarily conserved ferlin gene family. Mutations in Dysferlin lead to Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2B (LGMD2B), an inherited, progressive and incurable muscle disorder. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis are not fully understood. We found that both loss-of-function mutations and muscle-specific overexpression of C. elegans fer-1, the founding member of the Dysferlin gene family, caused defects in muscle cholinergic signaling. To determine if Dysferlin-dependent regulation of cholinergic signaling is evolutionarily conserved, we examined the in vivo physiological properties of skeletal muscle synaptic signaling in a mouse model of Dysferlin-deficiency. In addition to a loss in muscle strength, Dysferlin -/- mice also exhibited a cholinergic deficit manifested by a progressive, frequency-dependent decrement in their compound muscle action potentials following repetitive nerve stimulation, which was observed in another Dysferlin mouse model but not in a Dysferlin-independent mouse model of muscular dystrophy. Oral administration of Pyridostigmine bromide, a clinically used acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AchE.I) known to increase synaptic efficacy, reversed the action potential defect and restored in vivo muscle strength to Dysferlin -/- mice without altering muscle pathophysiology. Our data demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for Dysferlin in the regulation of cholinergic signaling and suggest that such regulation may play a significant pathophysiological role in LGMD2B disease.

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Available from: Jessica E Tanis, Apr 14, 2015