Project description:Larvae of the sister orders Trichoptera and Lepidoptera are characterized by silk secretion from a pair of labial glands. In both orders the silk filament consists of heavy (H)- and light (L)-chain fibroins and in Lepidoptera it also includes a P25 glycoprotein. The L-fibroin and H-fibroin genes of Rhyacophila obliterata and Hydropsyche angustipennis caddisflies have exon/intron structuring (seven exons in L-fibroin and two in H-fibroin) similar to that in their counterparts in Lepidoptera. Fibroin cDNAs are also known in Limnephilus decipiens, representing the third caddisfly suborder. Amino acid sequences of deduced L-fibroin proteins and of the terminal H-fibroin regions are about 50% identical among the three caddisfly species but their similarity to lepidopteran fibroins is <25%. Positions of some residues are conserved, including cysteines that were shown to link the L-fibroin and H-fibroin by a disulfide bridge in Lepidoptera. The long internal part of H-fibroins is composed of short motifs arranged in species-specific repeats. They are extremely uniform in R. obliterata. Motifs (SX)(n), GGX, and GPGXX occur in both Trichoptera and Lepidoptera. The trichopteran H-fibroins further contain charged amphiphilic motifs but lack the strings of alanines or alanine-glycine dipeptides that are typical lepidopteran motifs. On the other hand, sequences composed of a motif similar to ERIVAPTVITR surrounded by the (SX)(4-6) strings and modifications of the GRRGWGRRG motif occur in Trichoptera and not in Lepidoptera.
Project description:Silk production has independently evolved in numerous arthropod lineages, such as Lepidoptera, the moths and butterflies. Lepidopteran larvae (caterpillars) synthesize silk proteins in modified salivary glands and spin silk fibers into protective tunnels, escape lines, and pupation cocoons. Molecular sequence data for these proteins are necessary to determine critical features of their function and evolution. To this end, we constructed an expression library from the silk glands of the ghost moth, Hepialus californicus, and characterized light chain fibroin and heavy chain fibroin gene transcripts. The predicted H. californicus silk fibroins share many elements with other lepidopteran and trichopteran fibroins, such as conserved placements of cysteine, aromatic, and polar amino acid residues. Further comparative analyses were performed to determine site-specific signatures of selection and to assess whether fibroin genes are informative as phylogenetic markers. We found that purifying selection has constrained mutation within the fibroins and that light chain fibroin is a promising molecular marker. Thus, by characterizing the H. californicus fibroins, we identified key functional amino acids and gained insight into the evolutionary processes that have shaped these adaptive molecules.
Project description:Silk fibroin (SF) produced by the domesticated wild silkworm, Samia cynthia ricini (S. c. ricini) is attracting increasing interest owing to its unique mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and abundance in nature. However, its utilization is limited, largely due to lack of appropriate processing strategies. Various strategies have been assessed to regenerate cocoon SF, as well as the use of aqueous liquid fibroin (LFaq) prepared by dissolution of silk dope obtained from the silk glands of mature silkworm larvae in water. However, films cast from these fibroin solutions in water or organic solvents are often water-soluble and require post-treatment to render them water-stable. Here, we present a strategy for fabrication of water-stable films from S. c. ricini silk gland fibroin (SGF) without post-treatment. Aqueous ethanol induced gelation of fibroin in the posterior silk glands (PSG), enabling its separation from the rest of the silk gland. When dissolved in 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP), the SGF-gel gave a solution from which a transparent, flexible, and water-insoluble film (SGFHFIP) was cast. Detailed structural characterization of the SGFHFIP as-cast film was carried out and compared to a conventional, water-soluble film cast from LFaq. FTIR and 13C solid-state NMR analyses revealed both cast films to be ?-helix-rich. However, gelation of SGF induced by the 40%-EtOH-treatment resulted in an imperfect ?-sheet structure. As a result, the SGF-gel was soluble in HFIP, but some ?-sheet structural memory remains, and the SGFHFIP as-cast film obtained has some ?-sheet content which renders it water-resistant. These results reveal a structure water-solubility relationship in S. c. ricini SF films that may offer useful insights towards tunable fabrication of novel biomaterials. A plausible model of the mechanism that leads to the difference in water resistance of the two kinds of ?-helix-rich films is proposed.
Project description:Nascent myotubes undergo a dramatic morphological transformation during myogenesis, in which the myotubes elongate over several cell diameters and are directed to the correct muscle attachment sites. Although this process of myotube guidance is essential to pattern the musculoskeletal system, the mechanisms that control myotube guidance remain poorly understood. Using transcriptomics, we found that components of the Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) signaling pathway were enriched in nascent myotubes in <i>Drosophila</i> embryos. Null mutations in the FGF receptor <i>heartless</i> (<i>htl</i>), or its ligands, caused significant myotube guidance defects. The FGF ligand Pyramus is expressed broadly in the ectoderm, and ectopic Pyramus expression disrupted muscle patterning. Mechanistically, Htl regulates the activity of Rho/Rac GTPases in nascent myotubes and effects changes in the actin cytoskeleton. FGF signals are thus essential regulators of myotube guidance that act through cytoskeletal regulatory proteins to pattern the musculoskeletal system.
Project description:Successful repair of a damaged corneal surface is a great challenge and may require the use of a scaffold that supports cell growth and differentiation. Amniotic membrane is currently used for this purpose, in spite of its limitations. A thin transparent silk fibroin film from non-mulberry Antheraea mylitta (Am) has been developed which offers to be a promising alternative. The silk scaffolds provide sufficient rigidity for easy handling, the scaffolds support the sprouting, migration, attachment and growth of epithelial cells and keratocytes from rat corneal explants; the cells form a cell sheet, preserve their phenotypes, express cytokeratin3 and vimentin respectively. The films also support growth of limbal stem cell evidenced by expression of ABCG2. The cell growth on the silk film and the amniotic membrane is comparable. The implanted film within the rabbit cornea remains transparent, stable. The clinical examination as well as histology shows absence of any inflammatory response or neovascularization. The corneal surface integrity is maintained; tear formation, intraocular pressure and electroretinography of implanted eyes show no adverse changes. The silk fibroin film from non-mulberry silk worms may be a worthy candidate for use as a corneal scaffold.
Project description:Silk protein fibroins have gained remarkable attention in recent years as a potential drug carrier in the developing medicinal field of research. In this work, the stability of anticancer agent curcumin in the presence of two different silk protein fibroins from nonmulberry Antheraea mylitta (Am) and mulberry Bombyx mori (Bm) has been examined, and the possible mechanism of stabilization in a physiologically relevant medium has also been explored. In solution phase, upon treatment with curcumin, the predominated ?-sheet structure of Am is marginally altered, whereas in the case of Bm, a substantial structural changeover has been observed (from coil to ?-sheet) to accommodate the hydrophobic drug. Also, the morphological assessments suggest that curcumin is nicely housed in the nanoscaffold of silk fibroin (SF). Consequently, the extent of degradation of curcumin is remarkably suppressed upon encapsulation with the SF. The dissimilarity in the binding patterns of curcumin with these silk proteins could be responsible for the observed difference in the stability orders. Curcumin binds the surface of Bm, whereas in Am, the drug is incorporated in the hydrophobic cavity, and as a consequence, the drug is effectively sequestered out of the aqueous medium. The increase in the fluorescence quantum yield upon interaction with the protein greatly modulates the excited-state intermolecular hydrogen atom transfer (ESIPT) process, which is in tune with a substantial increase in the lifetime of the excited-state of curcumin. The ESIPT is known to play a crucial role in the degradation of curcumin under physiological pH conditions, which perhaps implies its potential therapeutic activity in the presence of silk. The in-depth spectroscopic analyses of curcumin-SF complexes in aqueous medium can provide useful insights for further applicative developments in bioengineering.
Project description:Vertebrate muscle spindle stretch receptors are important for limb position sensation (proprioception) and stretch reflexes. The structurally complex stretch receptor arises from a single myotube, which is transformed into multiple intrafusal muscle fibers by sensory axon-dependent signal transduction that alters gene expression in the contacted myotubes. The sensory-derived signal transduction pathways that specify the fate of myotubes are very poorly understood. The zinc finger transcription factor, early growth response gene 3 (Egr3), is selectively expressed in sensory axon-contacted myotubes, and it is required for normal intrafusal muscle fiber differentiation and spindle development. Here, we show that overexpression of Egr3 in primary myotubes in vitro leads to the expression of a particular repertoire of genes, some of which we demonstrate are also regulated by Egr3 in developing intrafusal muscle fibers within spindles. Thus, our results identify a network of genes that are regulated by Egr3 and are involved in intrafusal muscle fiber differentiation. Moreover, we show that Egr3 mediates myotube fate specification that is induced by sensory innervation because skeletal myotubes that express Egr3 independent of other sensory axon regulation are transformed into muscle fibers with structural and molecular similarities to intrafusal muscle fibers. Hence, Egr3 is a target gene that is regulated by sensory innervation and that mediates gene expression involved in myotube fate specification and intrafusal muscle fiber morphogenesis.
Project description:Glucose restriction (GR) impairs muscle cell differentiation and evokes myotube atrophy. Resveratrol treatment in skeletal muscle cells improves inflammatory-induced reductions in skeletal muscle cell differentiation. We therefore hypothesised that resveratrol treatment would improve muscle cell differentiation and myotube hypertrophy in differentiating C2C12 myoblasts and mature myotubes during GR. Glucose restriction at 0.6 g/L (3.3 mM) blocked differentiation and myotube hypertrophy versus high-glucose (4.5 g/L or 25 mM) differentiation media (DM) conditions universally used for myoblast culture. Resveratrol (10 µM) treatment increased SIRT1 phosphorylation in DM conditions, yet did not improve differentiation when administered to differentiating myoblasts in GR conditions. Resveratrol did evoke increases in hypertrophy of mature myotubes under DM conditions with corresponding elevated Igf-I and Myhc7 gene expression, coding for the 'slow' type I MYHC protein isoform. Inhibition of SIRT1 via EX-527 administration (100 nM) also reduced myotube diameter and area in DM conditions and resulted in lower gene expression of Myhc 1, 2 and 4 coding for 'intermediate' and 'faster' IIx, IIa and IIb protein isoforms, respectively. Resveratrol treatment did not appear to modulate phosphorylation of energy-sensing protein AMPK or protein translation initiator P70S6K. Importantly, in mature myotubes, resveratrol treatment was able to ameliorate reduced myotube growth in GR conditions over an acute 24-h period, but not over 48-72 h. Overall, resveratrol evoked myotube hypertrophy in DM conditions while favouring 'slower' Myhc gene expression and acutely ameliorated impaired myotube growth observed during glucose restriction.
Project description:This study investigated the effects of AdipoRon, which is an agonist for adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1) and AdipoR2, on the protein content, myotube diameter, and number of nuclei per myotube of C2C12 cells and skeletal muscle mass in C57BL/6J mice. AdipoRon suppressed the protein content, myotube diameter, and number of nuclei per myotube of C2C12 cells of C2C12 myotubes in a dose-dependent manner. Adiponectin-associated decline of protein content, diameter, and number of nuclei per myotube in C2C12 myotubes was partially rescued by knockdown of AdipoR1 and/or AdipoR2. Phosphorylation level of AMPK showed a trend to be increased by AdipoRon. A significant increase in phosphorylation level of AMPK was observed at 20 ?M AdipoRon. Knockdown of AdipoR1 and/or AdipoR2 rescued AdipoRon-associated decrease in protein content of C2C12 myotubes. AdipoRon-associated increase in phosphorylation level of AMPK in C2C12 myotubes was suppressed by knockdown of AdipoR1 and/or AdipoR2. Successive intravenous injections of AdipoRon into mice caused a decrease in the wet weight of plantaris muscle (PLA), but not in soleus muscle (SOL). Mean fiber cross-sectional area of PLA, but not of SOL, was significantly decreased by AdipoRon administration. On the one hand, the expression level of phosphorylated AMPK and ubiquitinated protein in SOL and PLA muscles was upregulated by AdipoRon administration. On the other hand, AdipoRon administration induced no changes in the expression level of puromycin-labeled proteins in both SOL and PLA muscles. Expression level of adiponectin in extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle was increased by aging, but not in SOL muscle. Aging had no effect on the expression level of AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 in both muscles. Phosphorylation level of AMPK in EDL was increased by aging, but not SOL muscle. Results from this study suggest that high level of circulating adiponectin may induce skeletal muscle atrophy, especially fast-type muscle.
Project description:Myotube apoptosis occurs normally during muscle development and aging but it can lead to destruction of skeletal muscle in neuromuscular diseases. Therefore, understanding how myotube apoptosis is regulated is important for developing novel strategies for treatment of muscle loss. We investigated the regulation of apoptosis in skeletal muscle and report a striking increase in resistance to apoptosis following differentiation. We find mitotic C2C12 cells (myoblast-like cells) are sensitive to cytosolic cytochrome c microinjection. However, differentiated C2C12 cells (myotube-like cells) and primary myotubes are markedly resistant. This resistance is due to endogenous X-linked inhibitor of apoptotic protein (XIAP). Importantly, the selective difference in the ability of XIAP to block myotube but not myoblast apoptosis is not due to a change in XIAP but rather a decrease in Apaf-1 expression. This decrease in Apaf-1 links XIAP to caspase activation and death. Our findings suggest that in order for myotubes to die, they may degrade XIAP, functionally inactivate XIAP or upregulate Apaf-1. Importantly, we identify a role for endogenous Smac in overcoming XIAP to allow myotube death. However, in postmitotic cardiomyocytes, where XIAP also restricts apoptosis, endogenous Smac was not capable of overcoming XIAP to cause death. These results show that as skeletal muscle differentiate, they become resistant to apoptosis because of the ability of XIAP to regulate caspase activation. The increased restriction of apoptosis in myotubes is presumably important to ensure the long term survival of these postmitotic cells as they play a vital role in the physiology of organisms.