Tropomodulin 1 directly controls thin filament length in both wild-type and tropomodulin 4-deficient skeletal muscle.
ABSTRACT: The sarcomeric tropomodulin (Tmod) isoforms Tmod1 and Tmod4 cap thin filament pointed ends and functionally interact with the leiomodin (Lmod) isoforms Lmod2 and Lmod3 to control myofibril organization, thin filament lengths, and actomyosin crossbridge formation in skeletal muscle fibers. Here, we show that Tmod4 is more abundant than Tmod1 at both the transcript and protein level in a variety of muscle types, but the relative abundances of sarcomeric Tmods are muscle specific. We then generate Tmod4(-/-) mice, which exhibit normal thin filament lengths, myofibril organization, and skeletal muscle contractile function owing to compensatory upregulation of Tmod1, together with an Lmod isoform switch wherein Lmod3 is downregulated and Lmod2 is upregulated. However, RNAi depletion of Tmod1 from either wild-type or Tmod4(-/-) muscle fibers leads to thin filament elongation by ?15%. Thus, Tmod1 per se, rather than total sarcomeric Tmod levels, controls thin filament lengths in mouse skeletal muscle, whereas Tmod4 appears to be dispensable for thin filament length regulation. These findings identify Tmod1 as the key direct regulator of thin filament length in skeletal muscle, in both adult muscle homeostasis and in developmentally compensated contexts.
Project description:Precise regulation of thin filament length is essential for optimal force generation during muscle contraction. The thin filament capping protein tropomodulin (Tmod) contributes to thin filament length uniformity by regulating elongation and depolymerization at thin filament ends. The leiomodins (Lmod1-3) are structurally related to Tmod1-4 and also localize to actin filament pointed ends, but in vitro biochemical studies indicate that Lmods act instead as robust nucleators. Here, we examined the roles of Tmod4 and Lmod3 during Xenopus skeletal myofibrillogenesis. Loss of Tmod4 or Lmod3 resulted in severe disruption of sarcomere assembly and impaired embryonic movement. Remarkably, when Tmod4-deficient embryos were supplemented with additional Lmod3, and Lmod3-deficient embryos were supplemented with additional Tmod4, sarcomere assembly was rescued and embryonic locomotion improved. These results demonstrate for the first time that appropriate levels of both Tmod4 and Lmod3 are required for embryonic myofibrillogenesis and, unexpectedly, both proteins can function redundantly during in vivo skeletal muscle thin filament assembly. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate the value of Xenopus for the analysis of contractile protein function during de novo myofibril assembly.
Project description:Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) induces sarcolemmal mechanical instability and rupture, hyperactivity of intracellular calpains, and proteolytic breakdown of muscle structural proteins. Here we identify the two sarcomeric tropomodulin (Tmod) isoforms, Tmod1 and Tmod4, as novel proteolytic targets of m-calpain, with Tmod1 exhibiting ?10-fold greater sensitivity to calpain-mediated cleavage than Tmod4 in situ. In mdx mice, increased m-calpain levels in dystrophic soleus muscle are associated with loss of Tmod1 from the thin filament pointed ends, resulting in ?11% increase in thin filament lengths. In mdx/mTR mice, a more severe model of DMD, Tmod1 disappears from the thin filament pointed ends in both tibialis anterior (TA) and soleus muscles, whereas Tmod4 additionally disappears from soleus muscle, resulting in thin filament length increases of ?10 and ?12% in TA and soleus muscles, respectively. In both mdx and mdx/mTR mice, both TA and soleus muscles exhibit normal localization of ?-actinin, the nebulin M1M2M3 domain, Tmod3, and cytoplasmic ?-actin, indicating that m-calpain does not cause wholesale proteolysis of other sarcomeric and actin cytoskeletal proteins in dystrophic skeletal muscle. These results implicate Tmod proteolysis and resultant thin filament length misspecification as novel mechanisms that may contribute to DMD pathology, affecting muscles in a use- and disease severity-dependent manner.
Project description:Regulation of actin filament assembly is essential for efficient contractile activity in striated muscle. Leiomodin is an actin-binding protein and homolog of the pointed-end capping protein, tropomodulin. These proteins are structurally similar, sharing a common domain organization that includes two actin-binding sites. Leiomodin also contains a unique C-terminal extension that has a third actin-binding WH2 domain. Recently, the striated-muscle-specific isoform of leiomodin (Lmod2) was reported to be an actin nucleator in cardiomyocytes. Here, we have identified a function of Lmod2 in the regulation of thin filament lengths. We show that Lmod2 localizes to the pointed ends of thin filaments, where it competes for binding with tropomodulin-1 (Tmod1). Overexpression of Lmod2 results in loss of Tmod1 assembly and elongation of the thin filaments from their pointed ends. The Lmod2 WH2 domain is required for lengthening because its removal results in a molecule that caps the pointed ends similarly to Tmod1. Furthermore, Lmod2 transcripts are first detected in the heart after it has begun to beat, suggesting that the primary function of Lmod2 is to maintain thin filament lengths in the mature heart. Thus, Lmod2 antagonizes the function of Tmod1, and together, these molecules might fine-tune thin filament lengths.
Project description:Correct assembly of thin filaments composed of actin and actin-binding proteins is of crucial importance for properly functioning muscle cells. Tropomyosin (Tpm) mediates the binding of tropomodulin (Tmod) and leiomodin (Lmod) at the slow-growing, or pointed, ends of the thin filaments. Together these proteins regulate thin filament lengths and actin dynamics in cardiac muscle. The K15N mutation in the TPM1 gene is associated with familial dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) but the effect of this mutation on Tpm's function is unknown. In this study, we introduced the K15N mutation in striated muscle ?-Tpm (Tpm1.1) and investigated its interaction with actin, Tmod and Lmod. The mutation caused a ?3-fold decrease in the affinity of Tpm1.1 for actin. The binding of Lmod and Tmod to Tpm1.1-covered actin filaments also decreased in the presence of the K15N mutation. Furthermore, the K15N mutation in Tpm1.1 disrupted the inhibition of actin polymerization and affected the competition between Tmod1 and Lmod2 for binding at the pointed ends. Our data demonstrate that the K15N mutation alters pointed end dynamics by affecting molecular interactions between Tpm1.1, Lmod2 and Tmod1.
Project description:In skeletal muscle, thick and thin filaments are arranged in a myofibrillar lattice. Tropomodulin 1 (Tmod1) is a pointed-end capping and tropomyosin-binding protein that controls thin-filament assembly, stability, and lengths. It remains unknown whether Tmods have other functional roles, such as regulating muscle contractility. To investigate this, we recorded and analyzed the mechanical properties and X-ray diffraction patterns of single membrane-permeabilized skeletal muscle fibers from mice lacking Tmod1. Results show that absence of Tmod1 and its replacement by Tmod3 and Tmod4 may impair initial tropomyosin movement over actin subunits during thin-filament activation, thus reducing both the fraction of actomyosin crossbridges in the strongly bound state (-29%) and fiber force-generating capacity (-31%). Therefore, Tmods are novel regulators of actomyosin crossbridge formation and muscle contractility, and future investigations and models of skeletal muscle force production must incorporate Tmods.
Project description:Tropomodulin family of proteins includes several isoforms of tropomodulins (Tmod) and leiomodins (Lmod). These proteins can sequester actin monomers or nucleate actin polymerization. Although it is known that their actin-binding properties are isoform-dependent, knowledge on how they vary in strengths of interactions with G-actin is missing. While it is confirmed in many studies that Tmods have two actin-binding sites, information on number and location of actin-binding sites in Lmod2 is controversial. We used atomic force microscopy to study interactions between G-actin and proteins of the tropomodulin family. Unbinding forces between G-actin and Tmod1, Tmod2, Tmod3, or Lmod2 were quantified. Our results indicated that Tmod1 and Tmod3 had unimodal force distributions, Tmod2 had a bimodal distribution and Lmod2 had a trimodal distribution. The number of force distributions correlates with the proteins' abilities to sequester actin or to nucleate actin polymerization. We assigned specific unbinding forces to the individual actin-binding sites of Tmod2 and Lmod2 using mutations that destroy actin-binding sites of Tmod2 and truncated Lmod2. Our results confirm the existence of the N-terminal actin-binding site in Lmod2. Altogether, our data demonstrate how the differences between the number and the strength of actin-binding sites of Tmod or Lmod translate to their functional abilities.
Project description:Tropomodulin (Tmod) is an actin-capping protein that binds to the two tropomyosins (TM) at the pointed end of the actin filament to prevent further actin polymerization and depolymerization. Therefore, understanding the role of Tmod is very important when studying actin filament dependent processes such as muscle contraction and intracellular transport. The capping ability of Tmod is highly influenced by TM and is 1000-fold greater in the presence of TM. There are four Tmod isoforms (Tmod1-4), three of which, Tmod1, Tmod3, and Tmod4, are expressed in skeletal muscles. The affinity of Tmod1 to skeletal striated TM (stTM) is higher than that of Tmod3 and Tmod4 to stTM. In this study, we tested mutations in the TM-binding sites of Tmod1, using circular dichroism (CD) and prediction analysis (PONDR). The mutations R11K, D12N, and Q144K were chosen because they decreased the affinity of Tmod1 to stTM, making it similar to that of affinity of Tmod3 and Tmod4 to stTM. Significant reduction of inhibition of actin pointed-end polymerization in the presence of stTM was shown for Tmod1 (R11K/D12N/Q144K) as compared with WT Tmod1. When GFP-Tmod1 and mutants were expressed in primary chicken skeletal myocytes, decreased assembly of Tmod1 mutants was revealed. This indicates a direct correlation between TM-binding and the actin-capping abilities of Tmod. Our data confirmed the hypothesis that assembly of Tmod at the pointed-end of the actin filament depends on its TM-binding affinity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Leiomodin proteins, Lmod1, Lmod2 and Lmod3, are key regulators of the thin filament length in muscles. While Lmod1 is specifically expressed in smooth muscles, both Lmod2 and Lmod3 are expressed in striated muscles including both cardiac and skeletal muscles. We and others have previously shown that Lmod3 mainly function in skeletal muscles and the mutant mice display disorganized sarcomere. Lmod2 protein has been found to act as an actin filament nucleator in both cell-free assays and in cultured rat and chicken cardiomyocytes. RESULTS:To better understand the function of Lmod2 in vivo, we have identified and characterized a piggyBac (PB) insertional mouse mutant. Our analysis revealed that the PB transposon inserts in the first exon of the Lmod2 gene and severely disrupts its expression. We found that Lmod2 (PB/PB) mice exhibit typical dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with ventricular arrhythmias and postnatal lethality. Electron microscope reveals that the Lmod2 (PB/PB) hearts carry disordered sarcomere, disarrayed thin filaments, and distorted intercalated discs (ICDs). Those ICDs display not only decreased convolutions, but also reduced electron-dense staining, indicating less ICDs component proteins in Lmod2 (PB/PB) hearts. Consistent with the phenotype, the expression of the ICD component genes, ?-catenin and Connexin43, are down-regulated. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, our data reveal that Lmod2 is required in heart thin filaments for integrity of sarcomere and ICD and deficient mice exhibit DCM with ventricular arrhythmias and postnatal lethality. The Lmod2 (PB/PB) mutant offers a valuable resource for interrogation of pathogenesis and development of therapeutics for DCM.
Project description:Neonatal heart failure is a rare, poorly-understood presentation of familial dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Exome sequencing in a neonate with severe DCM revealed a homozygous nonsense variant in leiomodin 2 (<i>LMOD2</i>, p.Trp398*). Leiomodins (Lmods) are actin-binding proteins that regulate actin filament assembly. While disease-causing mutations in smooth (<i>LMOD1</i>) and skeletal (<i>LMOD3</i>) muscle isoforms have been described, the cardiac (<i>LMOD2</i>) isoform has not been previously associated with human disease. Like our patient, <i>Lmod2</i>-null mice have severe early-onset DCM and die before weaning. The infant's explanted heart showed extraordinarily short thin filaments with isolated cardiomyocytes displaying a large reduction in maximum calcium-activated force production. The lack of extracardiac symptoms in <i>Lmod2</i>-null mice, and remarkable morphological and functional similarities between the patient and mouse model informed the decision to pursue cardiac transplantation in the patient. To our knowledge, this is the first report of aberrant cardiac thin filament assembly associated with human cardiomyopathy.
Project description:Nemaline myopathy (NM) is a genetic muscle disorder characterized by muscle dysfunction and electron-dense protein accumulations (nemaline bodies) in myofibers. Pathogenic mutations have been described in 9 genes to date, but the genetic basis remains unknown in many cases. Here, using an approach that combined whole-exome sequencing (WES) and Sanger sequencing, we identified homozygous or compound heterozygous variants in LMOD3 in 21 patients from 14 families with severe, usually lethal, NM. LMOD3 encodes leiomodin-3 (LMOD3), a 65-kDa protein expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscle. LMOD3 was expressed from early stages of muscle differentiation; localized to actin thin filaments, with enrichment near the pointed ends; and had strong actin filament-nucleating activity. Loss of LMOD3 in patient muscle resulted in shortening and disorganization of thin filaments. Knockdown of lmod3 in zebrafish replicated NM-associated functional and pathological phenotypes. Together, these findings indicate that mutations in the gene encoding LMOD3 underlie congenital myopathy and demonstrate that LMOD3 is essential for the organization of sarcomeric thin filaments in skeletal muscle.