Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
When fluorescently labeled contractile proteins are injected into embryonic muscle cells, they become incorporated into the cells' myofibrils. In order to determine if this exchange of proteins is unique to the embryonic stage of development, we isolated adult cardiac myocytes and microinjected them with fluorescently labeled actin, myosin light chains, α-actinin, and vinculin. Each of these proteins was incorporated into the adult cardiomyocytes and was colocalized with the cells'native proteins, despite the fact that the labeled proteins were prepared from noncardiac tissues. Within 10 min of injection, α-actinin was incorporated into Z-bands surrounding the site of injection. Similarly, 30 sec after injection, actin was incorporated into the entire I-bands at the site of injection. Following a 3-h incubation, increased actin fluorescence was noted at the intercalated disc. Vinculin exchange was seen in the intercalated discs, as well as in the Z-bands throug hout the cells. Myosin light chains required 4-6 h after injection to become incorporated into the A-bands of the adult muscle. Nonspecific proteins, such as fluorescent BSA, showed no association with the myofibrils or the former intercalated discs. When adult cells were maintained in culture for 10 days, they retain the ability to incorporate these contractile proteins into their myofibrils. T-tubules and the sarcoplasmic reticulum could be detected in periodic arrays in the freshly isolated cells using the membrane dye WW781 and DiOC3, respectively. In conclusion, the myofibrils in adult, as in embryonic, muscle cells are dynamic structures, permitting isoform transitions without dismantling of the myofibrils.
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