Muscle-specific accumulation of Drosophila myosin heavy chains: a splicing mutation in an alternative exon results in an isoform substitution.
ABSTRACT: We show that the molecular lesions in two homozygousviable mutants of the Drosophila muscle myosin heavy chain gene affect an alternative exon (exon 9a) which encodes a portion of the myosin head that is highly conserved among both cytoplasmic and muscle myosins of all organisms. In situ hybridization and Northern blotting analysis in wild-type organisms indicates that exon 9a is used in indirect flight muscles whereas both exons 9a and 9b are utilized in jump muscles. Alternative exons 9b and 9c are used in other larval and adult muscles. One of the mutations in exon 9a is a nonsense allele that greatly reduces myosin RNA stability. It prevents thick filament accumulation in indirect flight muscles and severely reduces the number of thick filaments in a subset of cells of the jump muscles. The second mutation affects the 5' splice site of exon 9a. This results in production of an aberrantly spliced transcript in indirect flight muscles, which prevents thick filament accumulation. Jump muscles of this mutant substitute exon 9b for exon 9a and consequently have normal levels of thick filaments in this muscle type. This isoform substitution does not obviously affect the ultrastructure or function of the jump muscle. Analysis of this mutant illustrates that indirect flight muscles and jump muscles utilize different mechanisms for alternative RNA splicing.
Project description:The relay domain of myosin is hypothesized to function as a communication pathway between the nucleotide-binding site, actin-binding site and the converter domain. In Drosophila melanogaster, a single myosin heavy chain gene encodes three alternative relay domains. Exon 9a encodes the indirect flight muscle isoform (IFI) relay domain, whereas exon 9b encodes one of the embryonic body wall isoform (EMB) relay domains. To gain a better understanding of the function of the relay domain and the differences imparted by the IFI and the EMB versions, we constructed two transgenic Drosophila lines expressing chimeric myosin heavy chains in indirect flight muscles lacking endogenous myosin. One expresses the IFI relay domain in the EMB backbone (EMB-9a), while the second expresses the EMB relay domain in the IFI backbone (IFI-9b). Our studies reveal that the EMB relay domain is functionally equivalent to the IFI relay domain when it is substituted into IFI. Essentially no differences in ATPase activity, actin-sliding velocity, flight ability at room temperature or muscle structure are observed in IFI-9b compared to native IFI. However, when the EMB relay domain is replaced with the IFI relay domain, we find a 50% reduction in actin-activated ATPase activity, a significant increase in actin affinity, abolition of actin sliding, defects in myofibril assembly and rapid degeneration of muscle structure compared to EMB. We hypothesize that altered relay domain conformational changes in EMB-9a impair intramolecular communication with the EMB-specific converter domain. This decreases transition rates involving strongly bound actomyosin states, leading to a reduced ATPase rate and loss of actin motility.
Project description:We investigated the biochemical and biophysical properties of one of the four alternative regions within the Drosophila myosin catalytic domain: the relay domain encoded by exon 9. This domain of the myosin head transmits conformational changes in the nucleotide-binding pocket to the converter domain, which is crucial to coupling catalytic activity with mechanical movement of the lever arm. To study the function of this region, we used chimeric myosins (IFI-9b and EMB-9a), which were generated by exchange of the exon 9-encoded domains between the native embryonic body wall (EMB) and indirect flight muscle isoforms (IFI). Kinetic measurements show that exchange of the exon 9-encoded region alters the kinetic properties of the myosin S1 head. This is reflected in reduced values for ATP-induced actomyosin dissociation rate constant (K(1)k(+2)) and ADP affinity (K(AD)), measured for the chimeric constructs IFI-9b and EMB-9a, compared to wild-type IFI and EMB values. Homology models indicate that, in addition to affecting the communication pathway between the nucleotide-binding pocket and the converter domain, exchange of the relay domains between IFI and EMB affects the communication pathway between the nucleotide-binding pocket and the actin-binding site in the lower 50-kDa domain (loop 2). These results suggest an important role of the relay domain in the regulation of actomyosin cross-bridge kinetics.
Project description:Muscle myosin heavy chain (MHC) rod domains intertwine to form alpha-helical coiled-coil dimers; these subsequently multimerize into thick filaments via electrostatic interactions. The subfragment 2/light meromyosin "hinge" region of the MHC rod, located in the C-terminal third of heavy meromyosin, may form a less stable coiled-coil than flanking regions. Partial "melting" of this region has been proposed to result in a helix to random-coil transition. A portion of the Drosophila melanogaster MHC hinge is encoded by mutually exclusive alternative exons 15a and 15b, the use of which correlates with fast (hinge A) or slow (hinge B) muscle physiological properties. To test the functional significance of alternative hinge regions, we constructed transgenic fly lines in which fast muscle isovariant hinge A was switched for slow muscle hinge B in the MHC isoforms of indirect flight and jump muscles. Substitution of the slow muscle hinge B impaired flight ability, increased sarcomere lengths by approximately 13% and resulted in minor disruption to indirect flight muscle sarcomeric structure compared with a transgenic control. With age, residual flight ability decreased rapidly and myofibrils developed peripheral defects. Computational analysis indicates that hinge B has a greater coiled-coil propensity and thus reduced flexibility compared to hinge A. Intriguingly, the MHC rod with hinge B was approximately 5 nm longer than myosin with hinge A, consistent with the more rigid coiled-coil conformation predicted for hinge B. Our study demonstrates that hinge B cannot functionally substitute for hinge A in fast muscle types, likely as a result of differences in the molecular structure of the rod, subtle changes in myofibril structure and decreased ability to maintain sarcomere structure in indirect flight muscle myofibrils. Thus, alternative hinges are important in dictating the distinct functional properties of myosin isoforms and the muscles in which they are expressed.
Project description:We show that a 2.6kb fragment of the muscle myosin heavy-chain gene (Mhc) of Drosophila melanogaster (containing 458 base pairs of upstream sequence, the first exon, the first intron and the beginning of the second exon) drives expression in all muscles. Comparison of the minimal promoter to Mhc genes of 10 Drosophila species identified putative regulatory elements in the upstream region and in the first intron. The first intron is required for expression in four small cells of the tergal depressor of the trochanter (jump) muscle and in the indirect flight muscle. The 3'-end of this intron is important for Mhc transcription in embryonic body wall muscle and contains AT-rich elements that are protected from DNase I digestion by nuclear proteins of Drosophila embryos. Sequences responsible for expression in embryonic, adult body wall and adult head muscles are present both within and outside the intron. Elements important for expression in leg muscles and in the large cells of the jump muscle flank the intron. We conclude that multiple transcriptional regulatory elements are responsible for Mhc expression in specific sets of Drosophila muscles.
Project description:Myosin is a molecular motor indispensable for body movement and heart contractility. Apart from pure cardiomyopathy, mutations in MYH7 encoding slow/?-cardiac myosin heavy chain also cause skeletal muscle disease with or without cardiac involvement. Mutations within the ?-helical rod domain of MYH7 are mainly associated with Laing distal myopathy. To investigate the mechanisms underlying the pathology of the recurrent causative MYH7 mutation (K1729del), we have developed a Drosophila melanogaster model of Laing distal myopathy by genomic engineering of the Drosophila Mhc locus. Homozygous MhcK1728del animals die during larval/pupal stages, and both homozygous and heterozygous larvae display reduced muscle function. Flies expressing only MhcK1728del in indirect flight and jump muscles, and heterozygous MhcK1728del animals, were flightless, with reduced movement and decreased lifespan. Sarcomeres of MhcK1728del mutant indirect flight muscles and larval body wall muscles were disrupted with clearly disorganized muscle filaments. Homozygous MhcK1728del larvae also demonstrated structural and functional impairments in heart muscle, which were not observed in heterozygous animals, indicating a dose-dependent effect of the mutated allele. The impaired jump and flight ability and the myopathy of indirect flight and leg muscles associated with MhcK1728del were fully suppressed by expression of Abba/Thin, an E3-ligase that is essential for maintaining sarcomere integrity. This model of Laing distal myopathy in Drosophila recapitulates certain morphological phenotypic features seen in Laing distal myopathy patients with the recurrent K1729del mutation. Our observations that Abba/Thin modulates these phenotypes suggest that manipulation of Abba/Thin activity levels may be beneficial in Laing distal myopathy.
Project description:Myosin storage myopathy (MSM) is a congenital skeletal muscle disorder caused by missense mutations in the ?-cardiac/slow skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain rod. It is characterized by subsarcolemmal accumulations of myosin that have a hyaline appearance. MSM mutations map near or within the assembly competence domain known to be crucial for thick filament formation. Drosophila MSM models were generated for comprehensive physiological, structural, and biochemical assessment of the mutations' consequences on muscle and myosin structure and function. L1793P, R1845W, and E1883K MSM mutant myosins were expressed in an indirect flight (IFM) and jump muscle myosin null background to study the effects of these variants without confounding influences from wild-type myosin. Mutant animals displayed highly compromised jump and flight ability, disrupted muscle proteostasis, and severely perturbed IFM structure. Electron microscopy revealed myofibrillar disarray and degeneration with hyaline-like inclusions. In vitro assembly assays demonstrated a decreased ability of mutant myosin to polymerize, with L1793P filaments exhibiting shorter lengths. In addition, limited proteolysis experiments showed a reduced stability of L1793P and E1883K filaments. We conclude that the disrupted hydropathy or charge of residues in the heptad repeat of the mutant myosin rods likely alters interactions that stabilize coiled-coil dimers and thick filaments, causing disruption in ordered myofibrillogenesis and/or myofibrillar integrity, and the consequent myosin aggregation. Our Drosophila models are the first to recapitulate the human MSM phenotype with ultrastructural inclusions, suggesting that the diminished ability of the mutant myosin to form stable thick filaments contributes to the dystrophic phenotype observed in afflicted subjects.
Project description:Hereditary myosin myopathies are characterized by variable clinical features. Inclusion body myopathy 3 (IBM-3) is an autosomal dominant disease associated with a missense mutation (E706K) in the myosin heavy chain IIa gene. Adult patients experience progressive muscle weakness. Biopsies reveal dystrophic changes, rimmed vacuoles with cytoplasmic inclusions, and focal disorganization of myofilaments. We constructed a transgene encoding E706K myosin and expressed it in Drosophila (E701K) indirect flight and jump muscles to establish a novel homozygous organism with homogeneous populations of fast IBM-3 myosin and muscle fibers. Flight and jump abilities were severely reduced in homozygotes. ATPase and actin sliding velocity of the mutant myosin were depressed >80% compared with wild-type myosin. Light scattering experiments and electron microscopy revealed that mutant myosin heads bear a dramatic propensity to collapse and aggregate. Thus E706K (E701K) myosin appears far more labile than wild-type myosin. Furthermore, mutant fly fibers exhibit ultrastructural hallmarks seen in patients, including cytoplasmic inclusions containing aberrant proteinaceous structures and disorganized muscle filaments. Our Drosophila model reveals the unambiguous consequences of the IBM-3 lesion on fast muscle myosin and fibers. The abnormalities observed in myosin function and muscle ultrastructure likely contribute to muscle weakness observed in our flies and patients.
Project description:Most animals express multiple isoforms of structural muscle proteins to produce tissues with different physiological properties. In Drosophila, the adult muscles include tubular-type muscles and the fibrillar indirect flight muscles. Regulatory processes specifying tubular muscle fate remain incompletely understood, therefore we chose to analyze the transcriptional regulation of TpnC41C, a Troponin C gene expressed in the tubular jump muscles, but not in the fibrillar flight muscles. We identified a 300-bp promoter fragment of TpnC41C sufficient for the fiber-specific reporter expression. Through an analysis of this regulatory element, we identified two sites necessary for the activation of the enhancer. Mutations in each of these sites resulted in 70% reduction of enhancer activity. One site was characterized as a binding site for Myocyte Enhancer Factor-2. In addition, we identified a repressive element that prevents activation of the enhancer in other muscle fiber types. Mutation of this site increased jump muscle-specific expression of the reporter, but more importantly reporter expression expanded into the indirect flight muscles. Our findings demonstrate that expression of the TpnC41C gene in jump muscles requires integration of multiple positive and negative transcriptional inputs. Identification of the transcriptional regulators binding the cis-elements that we identified will reveal the regulatory pathways controlling muscle fiber differentiation.
Project description:The recent high-resolution structure of the thick filament from Lethocerus asynchronous flight muscle shows aspects of thick filament structure never before revealed that may shed some light on how striated muscles function. The phenomenon of stretch activation underlies the function of asynchronous flight muscle. It is most highly developed in flight muscle, but is also observed in other striated muscles such as cardiac muscle. Although stretch activation is likely to be complex, involving more than a single structural aspect of striated muscle, the thick filament itself, would be a prime site for regulatory function because it must bear all of the tension produced by both its associated myosin motors and any externally applied force. Here we show the first structural evidence that the arrangement of myosin heads within the interacting heads motif is coupled to the structure of the thick filament backbone. We find that a change in helical angle of 0.16° disorders the blocked head preferentially within the Lethocerus interacting heads motif. This observation suggests a mechanism for how tension affects the dynamics of the myosin heads leading to a detailed hypothesis for stretch activation and shortening deactivation, in which the blocked head preferentially binds the thin filament followed by the free head when force production occurs.
Project description:Striated muscle thick filaments are composed of myosin II and several non-myosin proteins. Myosin II's long ?-helical coiled-coil tail forms the dense protein backbone of filaments, whereas its N-terminal globular head containing the catalytic and actin-binding activities extends outward from the backbone. Here, we report the structure of thick filaments of the flight muscle of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster at 7 Å resolution. Its myosin tails are arranged in curved molecular crystalline layers identical to flight muscles of the giant water bug Lethocerus indicus Four non-myosin densities are observed, three of which correspond to ones found in Lethocerus; one new density, possibly stretchin-mlck, is found on the backbone outer surface. Surprisingly, the myosin heads are disordered rather than ordered along the filament backbone. Our results show striking myosin tail similarity within flight muscle filaments of two insect orders separated by several hundred million years of evolution.