Filamin C-related myopathies: pathology and mechanisms.
ABSTRACT: The term filaminopathy was introduced after a truncating mutation in the dimerization domain of filamin C (FLNc) was shown to be responsible for a devastating muscle disease. Subsequently, the same mutation was found in patients from diverse ethnical origins, indicating that this specific alteration is a mutational hot spot. Patients initially present with proximal muscle weakness, while distal and respiratory muscles become affected with disease progression. Muscle biopsies of these patients show typical signs of myofibrillar myopathy, including disintegration of myofibrils and aggregation of several proteins into distinct intracellular deposits. Highly similar phenotypes were observed in patients with other mutations in Ig-like domains of FLNc that result in expression of a noxious protein. Biochemical and biophysical studies showed that the mutated domains acquire an abnormal structure causing decreased stability and eventually becoming a seed for abnormal aggregation with other proteins. The disease usually presents only after the fourth decade of life possibly as a result of ageing-related impairments in the machinery that is responsible for disposal of damaged proteins. This is confirmed by mutations in components of this machinery that cause a highly similar phenotype. Transfection studies of cultured muscle cells reflect the events observed in patient muscles and, therefore, may provide a helpful model for testing future dedicated therapeutic strategies. More recently, FLNC mutations were also found in families with a distal myopathy phenotype, caused either by mutations in the actin-binding domain of FLNc that result in increased actin-binding and non-specific myopathic abnormalities without myofibrillar myopathy pathology, or a nonsense mutation in the rod domain that leads to RNA instability, haploinsufficiency with decreased expression levels of FLNc in the muscle fibers and myofibrillar abnormalities, but not to the formation of desmin-positive protein aggregates required for the diagnosis of myofibrillar myopathy.
Project description:Filaminopathy is a subtype of myofibrillar myopathy caused by mutations in FLNC, the gene encoding filamin C, and histologically characterized by pathologic accumulation of several proteins within skeletal muscle fibers. With the aim to get new insights in aggregate composition, we collected aggregates and control tissue from skeletal muscle biopsies of six myofibrillar myopathy patients harboring three different FLNC mutations by laser microdissection and analyzed the samples by a label-free mass spectrometry approach. A total of 390 proteins were identified, and 31 of those showed significantly higher spectral indices in aggregates compared with patient controls with a ratio >1.8. These proteins included filamin C, other known myofibrillar myopathy associated proteins, and a striking number of filamin C binding partners. Across the patients the patterns were extremely homogeneous. Xin actin-binding repeat containing protein 2, heat shock protein 27, nebulin-related-anchoring protein, and Rab35 could be verified as new filaminopathy biomarker candidates. In addition, further experiments identified heat shock protein 27 and Xin actin-binding repeat containing protein 2 as novel filamin C interaction partners and we could show that Xin actin-binding repeat containing protein 2 and the known interaction partner Xin actin-binding repeat containing protein 1 simultaneously associate with filamin C. Ten proteins showed significant lower spectral indices in aggregate samples compared with patient controls (ratio <0.56) including M-band proteins myomesin-1 and myomesin-2. Proteomic findings were consistent with previous and novel immunolocalization data. Our findings suggest that aggregates in filaminopathy have a largely organized structure of proteins also interacting under physiological conditions. Different filamin C mutations seem to lead to almost identical aggregate compositions. The finding that filamin C was detected as highly abundant protein in aggregates in filaminopathy indicates that our proteomic approach may be suitable to identify new candidate genes among the many MFM patients with so far unknown mutation.
Project description:Mutations in FLNC cause two distinct types of myopathy. Disease associated with mutations in filamin C rod domain leading to expression of a toxic protein presents with progressive proximal muscle weakness and shows focal destructive lesions of polymorphous aggregates containing desmin, myotilin and other proteins in the affected myofibres; these features correspond to the profile of myofibrillar myopathy. The second variant associated with mutations in the actin-binding domain of filamin C is characterized by weakness of distal muscles and morphologically by non-specific myopathic features. A frameshift mutation in the filamin C rod domain causing haploinsufficiency was also found responsible for distal myopathy with some myofibrillar changes but no protein aggregation typical of myofibrillar myopathies. Controversial data accumulating in the literature require re-evaluation and comparative analysis of phenotypes associated with the position of the FLNC mutation and investigation of the underlying disease mechanisms. This is relevant and necessary for the refinement of diagnostic criteria and developing therapeutic approaches. We identified a p.W2710X mutation in families originating from ethnically diverse populations and re-evaluated a family with a p.V930_T933del mutation. Analysis of the expanded database allows us to refine clinical and myopathological characteristics of myofibrillar myopathy caused by mutations in the rod domain of filamin C. Biophysical and biochemical studies indicate that certain pathogenic mutations in FLNC cause protein misfolding, which triggers aggregation of the mutant filamin C protein and subsequently involves several other proteins. Immunofluorescence analyses using markers for the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy reveal that the affected muscle fibres react to protein aggregate formation with a highly increased expression of chaperones and proteins involved in proteasomal protein degradation and autophagy. However, there is a noticeably diminished efficiency of both the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy that impairs the muscle capacity to prevent the formation or mediate the degradation of aggregates. Transfection studies of cultured muscle cells imitate events observed in the patient's affected muscle and therefore provide a helpful model for testing future therapeutic strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Myofibrillar myopathies (MFMs) are a genetically heterogeneous group of muscle disorders. Mutations in the filamin C gene (FLNC) have previously been identified in patients with MFM. The phenotypes of FLNC-related MFM are heterogeneous. CASE PRESENTATION:The patient was a 37-year-old male who first experienced weakness in the distal muscles of his hand, which eventually spread to the lower limbs and proximal muscles. Serum creatine kinase levels were moderately elevated. Obvious neuropathic changes in the electromyographic exam and edema changes in lower distal limb magnetic resonance imaging were observed. Histopathological examination revealed the presence of abnormal protein aggregates and angular atrophy in some muscle fibers. Ultrastructural analysis showed inordinate myofibrillar structures and dissolved myofilaments. DNA sequencing analysis detected a heterozygous missense mutation (c.7123G > A, p.V2375I) in the immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain 21 of FLNC. CONCLUSIONS:FLNC mutation c.7123G > A, p.V2375I in the immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain 21 can be associated with distal myopathy with typical MFM features and lower motor neuron syndrome. Although electromyographic examination of our patient showed obvious neuropathic changes, MFM could not be excluded. Therefore, genetic testing is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Project description:Linkage analysis of the dominant distal myopathy we previously identified in a large Australian family demonstrated one significant linkage region located on chromosome 7 and encompassing 18.6 Mbp and 151 genes. The strongest candidate gene was FLNC because filamin C, the encoded protein, is muscle-specific and associated with myofibrillar myopathy. Sequencing of FLNC cDNA identified a c.752T>C (p.Met251Thr) mutation in the N-terminal actin-binding domain (ABD); this mutation segregated with the disease and was absent in 200 controls. We identified an Italian family with the same phenotype and found a c.577G>A (p.Ala193Thr) filamin C ABD mutation that segregated with the disease. Filamin C ABD mutations have not been described, although filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations cause multiple musculoskeletal disorders. The distal myopathy phenotype and muscle pathology in the two families differ from myofibrillar myopathies caused by filamin C rod and dimerization domain mutations because of the distinct involvement of hand muscles and lack of pathological protein aggregation. Thus, like the position of FLNA and B mutations, the position of the FLNC mutation determines disease phenotype. The two filamin C ABD mutations increase actin-binding affinity in a manner similar to filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations. Cell-culture expression of the c.752T>C (p.Met251)Thr mutant filamin C ABD demonstrated reduced nuclear localization as did mutant filamin A and filamin B ABDs. Expression of both filamin C ABD mutants as full-length proteins induced increased aggregation of filamin. We conclude filamin C ABD mutations cause a recognizable distal myopathy, most likely through increased actin affinity, similar to the pathological mechanism of filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations.
Project description:Myopathies encompass a wide variety of acquired and hereditary disorders. The pathomechanisms include structural and functional changes affecting, e.g., myofiber metabolism and contractile properties. In this study, we observed increased passive tension (PT) of skinned myofibers from patients with myofibrillar myopathy (MFM) caused by FLNC mutations (MFM-filaminopathy) and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type-2A due to CAPN3 mutations (LGMD2A), compared to healthy control myofibers. Because the giant protein titin determines myofiber PT, we measured its molecular size and the titin-to-myosin ratio, but found no differences between myopathies and controls. All-titin phosphorylation and site-specific phosphorylation in the PEVK region were reduced in myopathy, which would be predicted to lower PT. Electron microscopy revealed extensive ultrastructural changes in myofibers of various hereditary myopathies and also suggested massive binding of proteins to the sarcomeric I-band region, presumably heat shock proteins (HSPs), which can translocate to elastic titin under stress conditions. Correlative immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy showed that two small HSPs (HSP27 and ?B-crystallin) and the ATP-dependent chaperone HSP90 translocated to the titin springs in myopathy. The small HSPs, but not HSP90, were upregulated in myopathic versus control muscles. The titin-binding pattern of chaperones was regularly observed in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), LGMD2A, MFM-filaminopathy, MFM-myotilinopathy, titinopathy, and inclusion body myopathy due to mutations in valosin-containing protein, but not in acquired sporadic inclusion body myositis. The three HSPs also associated with elastic titin in mouse models of DMD and MFM-filaminopathy. Mechanical measurements on skinned human myofibers incubated with exogenous small HSPs suggested that the elevated PT seen in myopathy is caused, in part, by chaperone-binding to the titin springs. Whereas this interaction may be protective in that it prevents sarcomeric protein aggregation, it also has detrimental effects on sarcomere function. Thus, we identified a novel pathological phenomenon common to many hereditary muscle disorders, which involves sarcomeric alterations.
Project description:Myofibrillar myopathy (MFM) is a human disease that is characterized by focal myofibrillar destruction and pathological cytoplasmic protein aggregations. In an extended German pedigree with a novel form of MFM characterized by clinical features of a limb-girdle myopathy and morphological features of MFM, we identified a co-segregating, heterozygous nonsense mutation (8130G-->A; W2710X) in the filamin c gene (FLNC) on chromosome 7q32.1. The mutation is the first found in FLNC and is localized in the dimerization domain of filamin c. Functional studies showed that, in the truncated mutant protein, this domain has a disturbed secondary structure that leads to the inability to dimerize properly. As a consequence of this malfunction, the muscle fibers of our patients display massive cytoplasmic aggregates containing filamin c and several Z-disk-associated and sarcolemmal proteins.
Project description:Filamin C (FLNc) is mainly expressed in striated muscle cells where it localizes to Z-discs, myotendinous junctions and intercalated discs. Recent studies have revealed numerous mutations in the FLNC gene causing familial and sporadic myopathies and cardiomyopathies with marked clinical variability. The most frequent myopathic mutation, p.W2710X, which is associated with myofibrillar myopathy, deletes the carboxy-terminal 16 amino acids from FLNc and abolishes the dimerization property of Ig-like domain 24. We previously characterized "knock-in" mice heterozygous for this mutation (p.W2711X), and have now investigated homozygous mice using protein and mRNA expression analyses, mass spectrometry, and extensive immunolocalization and ultrastructural studies. Although the latter mice display a relatively mild myopathy under normal conditions, our analyses identified major mechanisms causing the pathophysiology of this disease: in comparison to wildtype animals (i) the expression level of FLNc protein is drastically reduced; (ii) mutant FLNc is relocalized from Z-discs to particularly mechanically strained parts of muscle cells, i.e. myotendinous junctions and myofibrillar lesions; (iii) the number of lesions is greatly increased and these lesions lack Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) protein; (iv) the expression of heat shock protein beta-7 (HSPB7) is almost completely abolished. These findings indicate grave disturbances of BAG3-dependent and -independent autophagy pathways that are required for efficient lesion repair. In addition, our studies reveal general mechanisms of lesion formation and demonstrate that defective FLNc dimerization via its carboxy-terminal domain does not disturb assembly and basic function of myofibrils. An alternative, more amino-terminally located dimerization site might compensate for that loss. Since filamins function as stress sensors, our data further substantiate that FLNc is important for mechanosensing in the context of Z-disc stabilization and maintenance.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Desminopathy is a subtype of myofibrillar myopathy caused by desmin mutations and characterized by protein aggregates accumulating in muscle fibers. The aim of this study was to assess the protein composition of these aggregates. Aggregates and intact myofiber sections were obtained from skeletal muscle biopsies of five desminopathy patients by laser microdissection and analyzed by a label-free spectral count-based proteomic approach. We identified 397 proteins with 22 showing significantly higher spectral indices in aggregates (ratio >1.8, p<0.05). Fifteen of these proteins not previously reported as specific aggregate components provide new insights regarding pathomechanisms of desminopathy. Results of proteomic analysis were supported by immunolocalization studies and parallel reaction monitoring. Three mutant desmin variants were detected directly on the protein level as components of the aggregates, suggesting their direct involvement in aggregate-formation and demonstrating for the first time that proteomic analysis can be used for direct identification of a disease-causing mutation in myofibrillar myopathy. Comparison of the proteomic results in desminopathy with our previous analysis of aggregate composition in filaminopathy, another myofibrillar myopathy subtype, allows to determine subtype-specific proteomic profile that facilitates identification of the specific disorder. BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE:Our proteomic analysis provides essential new insights in the composition of pathological protein aggregates in skeletal muscle fibers of desminopathy patients. The results contribute to a better understanding of pathomechanisms in myofibrillar myopathies and provide the basis for hypothesis-driven studies. The detection of specific proteomic profiles in different myofibrillar myopathy subtypes indicates that proteomic analysis may become a useful tool in differential diagnosis of protein aggregate myopathies.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To compare muscle imaging findings in different subtypes of myofibrillar myopathies (MFM) in order to identify characteristic patterns of muscle alterations that may be helpful to separate these genetic heterogeneous muscular disorders. METHODS:Muscle imaging and clinical findings of 46 patients with MFM were evaluated (19 desminopathy, 12 myotilinopathy, 11 filaminopathy, 1 alphaB-crystallinopathy, and 3 ZASPopathy). The data were collected retrospectively in 43 patients and prospectively in 3 patients. RESULTS:In patients with desminopathy, the semitendinosus was at least equally affected as the biceps femoris, and the peroneal muscles were never less involved than the tibialis anterior (sensitivity of these imaging criteria to detect desminopathy in our cohort 100%, specificity 95%). In most of the patients with myotilinopathy, the adductor magnus showed more alterations than the gracilis muscle, and the sartorius was at least equally affected as the semitendinosus (sensitivity 90%, specificity 93%). In filaminopathy, the biceps femoris and semitendinosus were at least equally affected as the sartorius muscle, and the medial gastrocnemius was more affected than the lateral gastrocnemius. The semimembranosus mostly showed more alterations than the adductor magnus (sensitivity 88%, specificity 96%). Early adult onset and cardiac involvement was most often associated with desminopathy. In patients with filaminopathy, muscle weakness typically beginning in the 5th decade of life was mostly pronounced proximally, while late adult onset (>50 years) with distal weakness was more often present in myotilinopathy. CONCLUSIONS:Muscle imaging in combination with clinical data may be helpful for separation of distinct myofibrillar myopathy subtypes and in scheduling of genetic analysis.
Project description:Filamin C (FLNC) variants are associated with cardiac and muscular phenotypes. Originally, FLNC variants were described in myofibrillar myopathy (MFM) patients. Later, high-throughput screening in cardiomyopathy cohorts determined a prominent role for FLNC in isolated hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies (HCM and DCM). FLNC variants are now among the more prevalent causes of genetic DCM. FLNC-associated DCM is associated with a malignant clinical course and a high risk of sudden cardiac death. The clinical spectrum of FLNC suggests different pathomechanisms related to variant types and their location in the gene. The appropriate functioning of FLNC is crucial for structural integrity and cell signaling of the sarcomere. The secondary protein structure of FLNC is critical to ensure this function. Truncating variants with subsequent haploinsufficiency are associated with DCM and cardiac arrhythmias. Interference with the dimerization and folding of the protein leads to aggregate formation detrimental for muscle function, as found in HCM and MFM. Variants associated with HCM are predominantly missense variants, which cluster in the ROD2 domain. This domain is important for binding to the sarcomere and to ensure appropriate cell signaling. We here review FLNC genotype-phenotype correlations based on available evidence.