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  • 1
    Keywords: DISEASE ; MECHANISM ; INTERMEDIATE-FILAMENTS ; vimentin ; ATOMIC-FORCE MICROSCOPY ; DIMER ; electron microscopy ; INVITRO ; intermediate filament ; analytical ultracentrifugation ; DESMIN ; SCAFFOLDS ; UNITS ; Assembly kinetics ; Recombinant keratins
    Abstract: We have generated human recombinant keratins K8 and K18 and describe conditions to quantitatively follow their assembly into filaments. When renatured individually from 8M urea into a low ionic strength/high pH-buffer, K8 was present in a dimeric to tetrameric form as revealed by analytical ultracentrifugation. In contrast, K18 sedimented as a monomer. When mixed in 8M urea and renatured together, K8 and K18 exhibited s-value profiles compatible with homogeneous tetrameric complexes. This finding was confirmed by sedimentation equilibrium centrifugation. Subsequently, these tetrameric starter units were subjected to assembly experiments at various protein concentrations. At low values such as 0.0025g/l, unit-length filaments were abundantly present after 2s of assembly. During the following 5min, filaments grew rapidly and by measuring the length of individual filaments we were able to generate time-dependent length profiles. These data revealed that keratins K8/K18 assemble several times faster than vimentin and desmin. In addition, we determined the persistence length l(p) of K8/K18 filaments to be in the range of 300nm. Addition of 1mM MgCl(2) increases l(p) to 480nm indicating that magnesium ions affect the interaction of keratin subunits within the filament during assembly to some extent.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22085677
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  • 2
    Keywords: CELLS ; HEART ; ACCUMULATION ; PHENOTYPE ; ORGANIZATION ; ARCHITECTURE ; laminopathies ; FILAMENTS ; OUTFLOW TRACT ; GILFORD-PROGERIA-SYNDROME
    Abstract: Mutations in the LMNA gene coding for the nuclear lamina proteins lamin A and its smaller splice form lamin C associate with a heterogeneous group of diseases collectively called laminopathies. Here, we describe a 2-year-old patient with a previously undescribed phenotype including right ventricular cardiomyopathy, progeroid features, and premature death. Sequencing of LMNA revealed a novel heterozygous de novo mutation p.L306R located in the alpha-helical rod domain of A-type lamins. Fibroblasts from the patient showed reduced proliferation and early premature replicative senescence, as characterized by progressive hyperlobulation of the nuclei, abnormally clustered centromeres, loss of lamin B1, and reorganization of promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies. Furthermore, the patient cells were more sensitive to double-strand DNA breaks. Similar structural and phenotypic defects were observed in normal fibroblasts transfected with FLAG-tagged p.L306R lamin A. Correspondingly, in vitro assembly studies revealed that the p.L306R generates a "hyper-assembly" mutant of lamin A that forms extensive fiber arrays under physiological conditions where wild-type lamin A is still largely soluble. In summary, we report a novel LMNA p.L306R mutation that leads to previously undescribed hyper-assembly of lamin A, heavy distortion of nuclear shape and that manifests as right ventricular cardiomyopathy and premature aging.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25820511
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  • 3
    Abstract: Keratins are intermediate filament (IF) proteins that form complex filament systems in epithelial cells, thus serving as scaffolding elements and mechanical stress absorbers. The building blocks of keratin IFs are parallel coiled-coil dimers of two distinct sequence-related proteins distinguished as type I and type II keratins. To gain more insight into their structural dynamics, we resorted to hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry of keratins K8 and K18, which are characteristic for simple epithelial cells. Using this powerful technique not employed with IFs before, we mapped patterns of protected versus unprotected regions in keratin complexes at various assembly levels. In particular, we localized protein segments exhibiting different hydrogen exchange patterns in tetramers versus filaments. We observed a general pattern of precisely positioned regions of stability intertwining with flexible regions, mostly represented by the non-alpha-helical segments. Notably, some regions within the coiled-coil domains are significantly more dynamic than others, while the IF-consensus motifs at the end domains of the central alpha-helical "rod" segment, which mediate the "head-to-tail" dimer-dimer interaction in the filament elongation process, become distinctly more protected upon formation of filaments. Moreover, to gain more insight into the dynamics of the individual keratins, we investigated the properties of homomeric preparations of K8 and K18. The physiological importance of keratins without a partner is encountered in both pathological and experimental situations when one of the two species is present in robust excess or completely absent, such as in gene-targeted mice.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26434626
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  • 4
    Keywords: DNA ; DISCOVERY ; DREIFUSS MUSCULAR-DYSTROPHY ; DEFICIENCY ; FILAMENTS ; B1
    Abstract: We studied a consanguineous Palestinian Arab family segregating an autosomal recessive progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME) with early ataxia. PME is a rare, often fatal syndrome, initially responsive to antiepileptic drugs which over time becomes refractory and can be associated with cognitive decline. Linkage analysis was performed and the disease locus narrowed to chromosome 19p13.3. Fourteen candidate genes were screened by conventional Sanger sequencing and in one, LMNB2, a novel homozygous missense mutation was identified that segregated with the PME in the family. Whole exome sequencing excluded other likely pathogenic coding variants in the linked interval. The p.His157Tyr mutation is located in an evolutionarily highly conserved region of the alpha-helical rod of the lamin B2 protein. In vitro assembly analysis of mutant lamin B2 protein revealed a distinct defect in the assembly of the highly ordered fibrous arrays typically formed by wild-type lamin B2. Our data suggests that disruption of the organisation of the nuclear lamina in neurons, perhaps through abnormal neuronal migration, causes the epilepsy and early ataxia syndrome and extends the aetiology of PMEs to include dysfunction in nuclear lamin proteins.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25954030
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  • 5
    Keywords: IN-VITRO ; NETWORKS ; SYSTEMS ; DISEASES ; vimentin ; KINETICS ; STANDARD ; ANGLE SCATTERING DATA ; X-RAY-SCATTERING ; SAXS
    Abstract: The intermediate filament proteins keratin K8 and K18 constitute an essential part of the cytoskeleton in simple epithelial cell layers, structurally enforcing their mechanical resistance. K8/K18 heterodimers form extended filaments and higher-order structures including bundles and networks that bind to cell junctions. We study the assembly of these proteins in the presence of monovalent or divalent ions by small-angle X-ray scattering. We find that both ion species cause an increase of the filament diameter when their concentration is increased; albeit, much higher values are needed for the monovalent compared to the divalent ions for the same effect. Bundling occurs also for monovalent ions and at comparatively low concentrations of divalent ions, very different from vimentin intermediate filaments, a fibroblast-specific cytoskeleton component. We explain these differences by variations in charge and hydrophobicity patterns of the proteins. These differences may reflect the respective physiological situation in stationary cell layers versus single migrating fibroblasts.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26327161
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  • 6
    Abstract: Mutation of the LMNA gene, encoding nuclear lamin A and lamin C (hereafter lamin A/C), is a common cause of familial dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Among Finnish DCM patients, the founder mutation c.427T〉C (p.S143P) is the most frequently reported genetic variant. Here, we show that p.S143P lamin A/C is more nucleoplasmic and soluble than wild-type lamin A/C and accumulates into large intranuclear aggregates in a fraction of cultured patient fibroblasts as well as in cells ectopically expressing either FLAG- or GFP-tagged p.S143P lamin A. In fluorescence loss in photobleaching (FLIP) experiments, non-aggregated EGFP-tagged p.S143P lamin A was significantly more dynamic. In in vitro association studies, p.S143P lamin A failed to form appropriate filament structures but instead assembled into disorganized aggregates similar to those observed in patient cell nuclei. A whole-genome expression analysis revealed an elevated unfolded protein response (UPR) in cells expressing p.S143P lamin A/C. Additional endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induced by tunicamycin reduced the viability of cells expressing mutant lamin further. In summary, p.S143P lamin A/C affects normal lamina structure and influences the cellular stress response, homeostasis and viability.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27235420
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  • 7
    Keywords: CAENORHABDITIS-ELEGANS ; INTERMEDIATE-FILAMENTS ; DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY ; DREIFUSS MUSCULAR-DYSTROPHY ; FAMILIAL PARTIAL LIPODYSTROPHY ; A/C GENE ; MISSENSE MUTATIONS ; CONDUCTION-SYSTEM DISEASE ; A-TYPE ; FORCE TRANSMISSION
    Abstract: Lamins are intermediate filament proteins that assemble into a meshwork underneath the inner nuclear membrane, the nuclear lamina. Mutations in the LMNA gene, encoding lamins A and C, cause a variety of diseases collectively called laminopathies. The disease mechanism for these diverse conditions is not well understood. Since lamins A and C are fundamental determinants of nuclear structure and stability, we tested whether defects in nuclear mechanics could contribute to the disease development, especially in laminopathies affecting mechanically stressed tissue such as muscle. Using skin fibroblasts from laminopathy patients and lamin A/C-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts stably expressing a broad panel of laminopathic lamin A mutations, we found that several mutations associated with muscular dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy resulted in more deformable nuclei; in contrast, lamin mutants responsible for diseases without muscular phenotypes did not alter nuclear deformability. We confirmed our results in intact muscle tissue, demonstrating that nuclei of transgenic Drosophila melanogaster muscle expressing myopathic lamin mutations deformed more under applied strain than controls. In vivo and in vitro studies indicated that the loss of nuclear stiffness resulted from impaired assembly of mutant lamins into the nuclear lamina. Although only a subset of lamin mutations associated with muscular diseases caused increased nuclear deformability, almost all mutations tested had defects in force transmission between the nucleus and cytoskeleton. In conclusion, our results indicate that although defective nuclear stability may play a role in the development of muscle diseases, other factors, such as impaired nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling, likely contribute to the muscle phenotype.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23427149
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