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Specific localization of nesprin-1-α2, the short isoform of nesprin-1 with a KASH domain, in developing, fetal and regenerating muscle, using a new monoclonal antibody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ian Holt, Duong, Qiuping Zhang, Lam le, Sewry, Manchaoui, Catherine Mary Shanahan, Glenn Morris

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016


King's Authors


Nesprin-1-giant (1008kD) is a protein of the outer nuclear membrane that links nuclei to the actin cytoskeleton via amino-terminal calponin homology domains. The short nesprin-1 isoform, nesprin-1-α2, is present only in skeletal and cardiac muscle and several pathogenic mutations occur within it, but the functions of this short isoform without calponin homology domains are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine mRNA levels and protein localization of nesprin-1-α2 at different stages of muscle development in order to shed light on its functions.

mRNA levels of all known nesprin-1 isoforms with a KASH domain were determined by quantitative PCR. The mRNA for the 111 kD muscle-specific short isoform, nesprin-1-α2, was not detected in pre-differentiation human myoblasts but was present at significant levels in multinucleate myotubes. We developed a monoclonal antibody against the unique amino-terminal sequence of nesprin-1-α2, enabling specific immunolocalization for the first time. Nesprin-1-α2 protein was undetectable in pre-differentiation myoblasts but appeared at the nuclear rim in post-mitotic, multinucleate myotubes and reached its highest levels in fetal muscle. In muscle from a Duchenne muscular dystrophy biopsy, nesprin-1-α2 protein was detected mainly in regenerating fibres expressing neonatal myosin. Nesprin-1-giant was present at all developmental stages, but was also highest in fetal and regenerating fibres. In fetal muscle, both isoforms were present in the cytoplasm, as well as at the nuclear rim. A pathogenic early stop codon (E7854X) in nesprin-1 caused reduced mRNA levels and loss of protein levels of both nesprin-1-giant and (unexpectedly) nesprin-1-α2, but did not affect myogenesis in vitro.

Nesprin-1-α2 mRNA and protein expression is switched on during myogenesis, alongside other known markers of muscle differentiation. The results show that nesprin-1-α2 is dynamically controlled and may be involved in some process occurring during early myofibre formation, such as re-positioning of nuclei.

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