Plectin isoform P1b and P1d deficiencies differentially affect mitochondrial morphology and function in skeletal muscle.
ABSTRACT: Plectin, a versatile 500-kDa cytolinker protein, is essential for muscle fiber integrity and function. The most common disease caused by mutations in the human plectin gene, epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD), is characterized by severe skin blistering and progressive muscular dystrophy. Besides displaying pathological desmin-positive protein aggregates and degenerative changes in the myofibrillar apparatus, skeletal muscle specimens of EBS-MD patients and plectin-deficient mice are characterized by massive mitochondrial alterations. In this study, we demonstrate that structural and functional alterations of mitochondria are a primary aftermath of plectin deficiency in muscle, contributing to myofiber degeneration. We found that in skeletal muscle of conditional plectin knockout mice (MCK-Cre/cKO), mitochondrial content was reduced, and mitochondria were aggregated in sarcoplasmic and subsarcolemmal regions and were no longer associated with Z-disks. Additionally, decreased mitochondrial citrate synthase activity, respiratory function and altered adenosine diphosphate kinetics were characteristic of plectin-deficient muscles. To analyze a mechanistic link between plectin deficiency and mitochondrial alterations, we comparatively assessed mitochondrial morphology and function in whole muscle and teased muscle fibers of wild-type, MCK-Cre/cKO and plectin isoform-specific knockout mice that were lacking just one isoform (either P1b or P1d) while expressing all others. Monitoring morphological alterations of mitochondria, an isoform P1b-specific phenotype affecting the mitochondrial fusion-fission machinery and manifesting with upregulated mitochondrial fusion-associated protein mitofusin-2 could be identified. Our results show that the depletion of distinct plectin isoforms affects mitochondrial network organization and function in different ways.
Project description:Plectin is a versatile intermediate filament (IF)-bound cytolinker protein with a variety of differentially spliced isoforms accounting for its multiple functions. One particular isoform, plectin 1b (P1b), remains associated with mitochondria after biochemical fractionation of fibroblasts and cells expressing exogenous P1b. Here, we determined that P1b is inserted into the outer mitochondrial membrane with the exon 1b-encoded N-terminal sequence serving as a mitochondrial targeting and anchoring signal. To study P1b-related mitochondrial functions, we generated mice that selectively lack this isoform but express all others. In primary fibroblasts and myoblasts derived from these mice, we observe a substantial elongation of mitochondrial networks, whereas other mitochondrial properties remain largely unaffected. Normal morphology of mitochondria could be restored by isoform-specific overexpression of P1b in P1b-deficient as well as plectin-null cells. We propose a model where P1b both forms a mitochondrial signaling platform and affects organelle shape and network formation by tethering mitochondria to IFs.
Project description:Mutations in the cytolinker protein plectin lead to grossly distorted morphology of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) in patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS)-muscular dystrophy (MS) with myasthenic syndrome (MyS). Here we investigated whether plectin contributes to the structural integrity of NMJs by linking them to the postsynaptic intermediate filament (IF) network. Live imaging of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in cultured myotubes differentiated ex vivo from immortalized plectin-deficient myoblasts revealed them to be highly mobile and unable to coalesce into stable clusters, in contrast to wild-type cells. We found plectin isoform 1f (P1f) to bridge AChRs and IFs via direct interaction with the AChR-scaffolding protein rapsyn in an isoform-specific manner; forced expression of P1f in plectin-deficient cells rescued both compromised AChR clustering and IF network anchoring. In conditional plectin knockout mice with gene disruption in muscle precursor/satellite cells (Pax7-Cre/cKO), uncoupling of AChRs from IFs was shown to lead to loss of postsynaptic membrane infoldings and disorganization of the NMJ microenvironment, including its invasion by microtubules. In their phenotypic behavior, mutant mice closely mimicked EBS-MD-MyS patients, including impaired body balance, severe muscle weakness, and reduced life span. Our study demonstrates that linkage to desmin IF networks via plectin is crucial for formation and maintenance of AChR clusters, postsynaptic NMJ organization, and body locomotion.
Project description:Autosomal recessive mutations in the cytolinker protein plectin account for the multisystem disorders epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) associated with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD), pyloric atresia (EBS-PA), and congenital myasthenia (EBS-CMS). In contrast, a dominant missense mutation leads to the disease EBS-Ogna, manifesting exclusively as skin fragility. We have exploited this trait to study the molecular basis of hemidesmosome failure in EBS-Ogna and to reveal the contribution of plectin to hemidesmosome homeostasis. We generated EBS-Ogna knock-in mice mimicking the human phenotype and show that blistering reflects insufficient protein levels of the hemidesmosome-associated plectin isoform 1a. We found that plectin 1a, in contrast to plectin 1c, the major isoform expressed in epidermal keratinocytes, is proteolytically degraded, supporting the notion that degradation of hemidesmosome-anchored plectin is spatially controlled. Using recombinant proteins, we show that the mutation renders plectin's 190-nm-long coiled-coil rod domain more vulnerable to cleavage by calpains and other proteases activated in the epidermis but not in skeletal muscle. Accordingly, treatment of cultured EBS-Ogna keratinocytes as well as of EBS-Ogna mouse skin with calpain inhibitors resulted in increased plectin 1a protein expression levels. Moreover, we report that plectin's rod domain forms dimeric structures that can further associate laterally into remarkably stable (paracrystalline) polymers. We propose focal self-association of plectin molecules as a novel mechanism contributing to hemidesmosome homeostasis and stabilization.
Project description:Mutations of the human plectin gene (PLEC) on chromosome 8q24 cause autosomal recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD). In the present study we analyzed the downstream effects of PLEC mutations on plectin protein expression and localization, the structure of the extrasarcomeric desmin cytoskeleton, protein aggregate formation and mitochondrial distribution in skeletal muscle tissue from three EBS-MD patients. PLEC gene analysis in a not previously reported 35-year-old EBS-MD patient with additional disease features of cardiomyopathy and malignant arrhythmias revealed novel compound heterozygous (p.(Phe755del) and p.(Lys1040Argfs*139)) mutations resulting in complete abolition of plectin protein expression. In contrast, the other two patients with different homozygous PLEC mutations showed preserved plectin protein expression with one only expressing rodless plectin variants, and the other markedly reduced protein levels. Analysis of skeletal muscle tissue from all three patients revealed severe disruption of the extrasarcomeric intermediate filament cytoskeleton, protein aggregates positive for desmin, syncoilin, and synemin, degenerative myofibrillar changes, and mitochondrial abnormalities comprising respiratory chain dysfunction and an altered organelle distribution and amount.Our study demonstrates that EBS-MD causing PLEC mutations universally result in a desmin protein aggregate myopathy phenotype despite marked differences in individual plectin protein expression patterns. Since plectin is the key cytolinker protein that regulates the structural and functional organization of desmin filaments, the defective anchorage and spacing of assembled desmin filaments is the key pathogenetic event that triggers the formation of desmin protein aggregates as well as secondary mitochondrial pathology.
Project description:Epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (MD-EBS) is a disease characterized by generalized blistering of the skin associated with muscular involvement. We report that the skin of three MD-EBS patients is not reactive with antibodies 6C6, 10F6, or 5B3 raised against the intermediate filament-associated protein plectin. Immunofluorescence and Western analysis of explanted MD-EBS keratinocytes confirmed a deficient expression of plectin, which, in involved skin, correlated with an impaired interaction of the keratin cytoskeleton with the hemidesmosomes. Consistent with lack of reactivity of MD-EBS skin to plectin antibodies, plectin was not detected in skeletal muscles of these patients. Impaired expression of plectin in muscle correlated with an altered labeling pattern of the muscle intermediate filament protein desmin. A deficient immunoreactivity was also observed with the monoclonal antibody HD121 raised against the hemidesmosomal protein HD1. Furthermore, immunofluorescence analysis showed that HD1 is expressed in Z-lines in normal skeletal muscle; whereas this expression is deficient in patient muscle. Colocalization of HD1 and plectin in normal skin and muscle, together with their impaired expression in MD-EBS tissues, strongly suggests that plectin and HD1 are closely related proteins. Our results therefore provide strong evidence that, in MD-EBS patients, the defective expression of plectin results in an aberrant anchorage of cytoskeletal structures in keratinocytes and muscular fibers leading to cell fragility.
Project description:Plectin is a cytoskeletal linker protein which has a long central rod and N- and C-terminal globular domains. Mutations in the gene encoding plectin (PLEC) cause two distinct autosomal recessive subtypes of epidermolysis bullosa: EB simplex (EBS) with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD), and EBS with pyloric atresia (EBS-PA). Previous studies have demonstrated that loss of full-length plectin with residual expression of the rodless isoform leads to EBS-MD, whereas complete loss or marked attenuation of expression of full-length and rodless plectin underlies the more severe EBS-PA phenotype. However, muscular dystrophy has never been identified in EBS-PA, not even in the severe form of the disease. Here, we report the first case of EBS associated with both pyloric atresia and muscular dystrophy. Both of the premature termination codon-causing mutations of the proband are located within exon 32, the last exon of PLEC. Immunofluorescence and immunoblot analysis of skin samples and cultured fibroblasts from the proband revealed truncated plectin protein expression in low amounts. This study demonstrates that plectin deficiency can indeed lead to both muscular dystrophy and pyloric atresia in an individual EBS patient.
Project description:Plectin is a highly versatile cytoskeletal protein that acts as a mechanical linker between intermediate filament (IF) networks and various cellular structures. The protein is crucial for myofiber integrity. Its deficiency leads to severe pathological changes in skeletal muscle fibers of patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD). Skeletal muscle fibers express four major isoforms of plectin which are distinguished solely by alternative, relatively short, first exon-encoded N-terminal sequences. Each one of these isoforms is localized to a different subcellular compartment and plays a specific role in maintaining integrity and proper function(s) of myofibers. The unique role of individual isoforms is supported by distinct phenotypes of isoform-specific knockout mice and recently discovered mutations in first coding exons of plectin that lead to distinct, tissue-specific, pathological abnormalities in humans. In this study, we demonstrate that the lack of plectin isoform 1 (P1) in myofibers of mice leads to alterations of nuclear morphology, similar to those observed in various forms of MD. We show that P1-mediated targeting of desmin IFs to myonuclei is essential for maintenance of their typically spheroidal architecture as well as their proper positioning and movement along the myofiber. Furthermore, we show that P1 deficiency affects chromatin modifications and the expression of genes involved in various cellular functions, including signaling pathways mediating mechanotransduction. Mechanistically, P1 is shown to specifically interact with the myonuclear membrane-associated (BAR domain-containing) protein endophilin B. Our results open a new perspective on cytoskeleton-nuclear crosstalk via specific cytolinker proteins.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD; OMIM #226670) is an autosomal recessive disease, characterized mainly by skin blistering at birth or shortly thereafter, progressive muscle weakness, and rarely by alopecia. EBS-MD is caused by mutations in the PLEC gene (OMIM *601282), which encodes plectin, a structural protein expressed in several tissues, including epithelia and muscle. We describe a patient affected with EBS-MD and diffuse alopecia in which we identified a novel pathogenic mutation by PCR amplification of all coding exons and exon-intron boundaries of PLEC gene, followed by bidirectional Sanger sequencing. CASE PRESENTATION:The patient, a 28-year-old female and only child of consanguineous healthy parents, was born after uneventful pregnancy. At 2 days of age, she developed skin and oral mucosal blistering, accompanied by voice hoarseness. On physical examination as an adult, we observed diffuse non-scarring alopecia on the scalp, onychodystrophy (pachyonychia) in all 20 nails, dental decay, mild dysphonia, and severe muscle atrophy mainly affecting the extremities. Neurological examination showed profoundly diminished reflexes. Mutation analysis revealed the patient to be homozygous for the novel PLEC nonsense mutation - c.7159G?>?T (p.Glu2387*) - located in exon 31. Thismutation predicts the lack of expression of the full-length plectin isoform. CONCLUSION:The present case appears to be the second association of EBS-MD with diffuse alopecia, both cases having different mutations involving PLEC exon 31. It remains to be elucidated whether diffuse alopecia results from PLEC mutations and/or from environmental factors.
Project description:Plectin is a widely expressed cytomatrix component involved in the attachment of the cytoskeleton to the plasma membrane. We have recently reported that the skin and muscles of three patients affected by epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (MD-EBS), a genetic disorder characterized by skin blistering associated with muscle involvement, are not reactive with antibodies specific to plectin. We demonstrated that in the skin, lack of plectin leads to failure of keratin filaments to connect to the plasma membrane via the hemidesmosomes, whereas in the muscle the deficient expression of the molecule correlates with an aberrant localization of desmin in the muscle fibers. In this study we demonstrate that in a MD-EBS kindred with two affected members, the disease results from a homozygous nonsense mutation in the plectin (PLEC1) gene leading to a premature stop codon (CGA to TGA) and decay of the aberrant plectin messenger RNA. The segregation of the mutated allele implicates the mutation in the pathology of the disorder. These results confirm the critical role of plectin in providing cell resistance to mechanical stresses both in the skin and the muscle.
Project description:The ubiquitously expressed multifunctional cytolinker protein plectin is essential for muscle fiber integrity and myofiber cytoarchitecture. Patients suffering from plectinopathy-associated epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD) and mice lacking plectin in skeletal muscle display pathological desmin-positive protein aggregation and misalignment of Z-disks, which are hallmarks of myofibrillar myopathies (MFMs). Here, we developed immortalized murine myoblast cell lines to examine the pathogenesis of plectinopathies at the molecular and single cell level. Plectin-deficient myotubes, derived from myoblasts, were fully functional and mirrored the pathological features of EBS-MD myofibers, including the presence of desmin-positive protein aggregates and a concurrent disarrangement of the myofibrillar apparatus. Using this cell model, we demonstrated that plectin deficiency leads to increased intermediate filament network and sarcomere dynamics, marked upregulation of HSPs, and reduced myotube resilience following mechanical stretch. Currently, no specific therapy or treatment is available to improve plectin-related or other forms of MFMs; therefore, we assessed the therapeutic potential of chemical chaperones to relieve plectinopathies. Treatment with 4-phenylbutyrate resulted in remarkable amelioration of the pathological phenotypes in plectin-deficient myotubes as well as in plectin-deficient mice. Together, these data demonstrate the biological relevance of the MFM cell model and suggest that this model has potential use for the development of therapeutic approaches for EBS-MD.