Expression of the rat connexin 39 (rCx39) gene in myoblasts and myotubes in developing and regenerating skeletal muscles: an in situ hybridization study.
ABSTRACT We report a detailed analysis of the expression pattern of the recently identified rat connexin gene, named rat connexin 39 (rCx39), both during embryonic development and in adult life. Qualitative and quantitative reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction analysis showed intense expression of rCx39 restricted to differentiating skeletal muscles, with a peak of expression detected at 18 days of embryonic life, followed by a rapid decline to undetectable levels within the first week of postnatal life. A combination of the in situ hybridization technique for the detection of rCx39 mRNA and immunohistochemistry for myogenin, a myoblast-specific marker, allowed us to establish that the mRNA for this connexin was expressed in myogenin-positive myoblasts and early myotubes but disappeared in mature myotubes. Moreover, in adult animals, rCx39 mRNA was expressed in myogenic cells involved in skeletal myofiber regeneration following a crush injury. This is the first case of a connexin being mainly expressed in the myogenic cell lineage. The information presented should pave the way to novel molecular approaches in studies on the role of connexin-based gap-junctional communication in skeletal muscle differentiation and regeneration.
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ABSTRACT: In many tissues and organs, connexin proteins assemble between neighboring cells to form gap junctions. These gap junctions facilitate direct intercellular communication between adjoining cells, allowing for the transmission of both chemical and electrical signals. In rodents, gap junctions are found in differentiating myoblasts and are important for myogenesis. Although gap junctions were once believed to be absent from differentiated skeletal muscle in mammals, recent studies in teleosts revealed that differentiated muscle does express connexins and is electrically coupled, at least at the larval stage. These findings raised questions regarding the functional significance of gap junctions in differentiated muscle. Our analysis of gap junctions in muscle began with the isolation of a zebrafish motor mutant that displayed weak coiling at day 1 of development, a behavior known to be driven by slow-twitch muscle (slow muscle). We identified a missense mutation in the gene encoding Connexin 39.9. In situ hybridization found connexin 39.9 to be expressed by slow muscle. Paired muscle recordings uncovered that wild-type slow muscles are electrically coupled, whereas mutant slow muscles are not. The further examination of cellular activity revealed aberrant, arrhythmic touch-evoked Ca(2+) transients in mutant slow muscle and a reduction in the number of muscle fibers contracting in response to touch in mutants. These results indicate that Connexin 39.9 facilitates the spreading of neuronal inputs, which is irregular during motor development, beyond the muscle cells and that gap junctions play an essential role in the efficient recruitment of slow muscle fibers.Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2011; 287(2):1080-9. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The innervation of skeletal myofibers exerts a crucial influence on the maintenance of muscle tone and normal operation. Consequently, denervated myofibers manifest atrophy, which is preceded by an increase in sarcolemma permeability. Recently, de novo expression of hemichannels (HCs) formed by connexins (Cxs) and other none selective channels, including P2X7 receptors (P2X7Rs), and transient receptor potential, sub-family V, member 2 (TRPV2) channels was demonstrated in denervated fast skeletal muscles. The denervation-induced atrophy was drastically reduced in denervated muscles deficient in Cxs 43 and 45. Nonetheless, the transduction mechanism by which the nerve represses the expression of the above mentioned non-selective channels remains unknown. The paracrine action of extracellular signaling molecules including ATP, neurotrophic factors (i.e., brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)), agrin/LDL receptor-related protein 4 (Lrp4)/muscle-specific receptor kinase (MuSK) and acetylcholine (Ach) are among the possible signals for repression for connexin expression. This review discusses the possible role of relevant factors in maintaining the normal functioning of fast skeletal muscles and suppression of connexin hemichannel expression.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:405. · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: During repetitive stimulation of skeletal muscle, extracellular ATP levels raise, activating purinergic receptors, increasing Ca(2+) influx, and enhancing contractile force, a response called potentiation. We found that ATP appears to be released through pannexin 1 hemichannels (Panx1 HCs). Immunocytochemical analyses and function were consistent with pannexin1 localization to T-tubules intercalated with dihydropyridine and ryanodine receptors in slow (soleus) and fast (extensor digitorum longus, EDL) muscles. Isolated myofibers took up ethidium (Etd(+)) and released small molecules (as ATP) during electrical stimulation. Consistent with two glucose uptake pathways, induced uptake of 2-NBDG, a fluorescent glucose derivative, was decreased by inhibition of HCs or glucose transporter (GLUT4), and blocked by dual blockade. Adult skeletal muscles apparently do not express connexins, making it unlikely that connexin hemichannels contribute to the uptake and release of small molecules. ATP release, Etd(+) uptake, and potentiation induced by repetitive electrical stimulation were blocked by HC blockers and did not occur in muscles of pannexin1 knockout mice. MRS 2179, a P2Y1R blocker, prevented potentiation in EDL, but not soleus muscles, suggesting that in fast muscles ATP activates P2Y1 but not P2X receptors. Phosphorylation on Ser and Thr residues of pannexin1 was increased during potentiation, possibly mediating HC opening. Opening of Panx1 HCs during repetitive activation allows efflux of ATP, influx of glucose and possibly Ca(2+) too, which are required for potentiation of contraction.Neuropharmacology 04/2013; · 4.82 Impact Factor