Tendons are extracellular matrix (ECM)-rich structures that mediate muscle attachments with the skeleton, but surprisingly little is known about molecular mechanisms of attachment. Individual myofibers and tenocytes in Drosophila interact through integrin (Itg) ligands such as Thrombospondin (Tsp), while vertebrate muscles attach to complex ECM fibrils embedded with tenocytes . We show for the first time that a vertebrate thrombospondin, Tsp4b, is essential for muscle attachment and ECM assembly at myotendinous junctions (MTJs). Tsp4b depletion in zebrafish causes muscle detachment upon contraction due to defects in laminin localization and reduced Itg signaling at MTJs. Mutation of its oligomerization domain renders Tsp4b unable to rescue these defects, demonstrating that pentamerization is required for ECM assembly. Furthermore, injected human TSP4 localizes to zebrafish MTJs and rescues muscle detachment and ECM assembly in Tsp4b-deficient embryos. Thus Tsp4 functions as an ECM scaffold at MTJs, with potential therapeutic uses in tendon strengthening and repair.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in accordance with rules and protocols approved by University of California, Irvine- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (UCI-IACUC)(Protocol # 2000-2149-4). Juveniles and adult fish were euthanized with Ethyl 3-aminobenzoate methanesulfonate (Tricaine). Embryos were anesthetized with Tricaine before stimulation assays.
- Tanya T Whitfield, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
© 2014, Subramanian & Schilling
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The ATPase p97 (also known as VCP, Cdc48) has crucial functions in a variety of important cellular processes such as protein quality control, organellar homeostasis, and DNA damage repair, and its de-regulation is linked to neuromuscular diseases and cancer. p97 is tightly controlled by numerous regulatory cofactors, but the full range and function of the p97–cofactor network is unknown. Here, we identify the hitherto uncharacterized FAM104 proteins as a conserved family of p97 interactors. The two human family members VCP nuclear cofactor family member 1 and 2 (VCF1/2) bind p97 directly via a novel, alpha-helical motif and associate with p97-UFD1-NPL4 and p97-UBXN2B complexes in cells. VCF1/2 localize to the nucleus and promote the nuclear import of p97. Loss of VCF1/2 results in reduced nuclear p97 levels, slow growth, and hypersensitivity to chemical inhibition of p97 in the absence and presence of DNA damage, suggesting that FAM104 proteins are critical regulators of nuclear p97 functions.
The amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients’ brains contain collagens and are embedded extracellularly. Several collagens have been proposed to influence Aβ aggregate formation, yet their role in clearance is unknown. To investigate the potential role of collagens in forming and clearance of extracellular aggregates in vivo, we created a transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans strain that expresses and secretes human Aβ1-42. This secreted Aβ forms aggregates in two distinct places within the extracellular matrix. In a screen for extracellular human Aβ aggregation regulators, we identified different collagens to ameliorate or potentiate Aβ aggregation. We show that a disintegrin and metalloprotease a disintegrin and metalloprotease 2 (ADM-2), an ortholog of ADAM9, reduces the load of extracellular Aβ aggregates. ADM-2 is required and sufficient to remove the extracellular Aβ aggregates. Thus, we provide in vivo evidence of collagens essential for aggregate formation and metalloprotease participating in extracellular Aβ aggregate removal.