Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An ambulance man for muscle damage

18.12.2007
Scientists harness a natural emergency response to increase the regeneration ability of muscle

It does not take much to injure a muscle. Sometimes one sudden, inconsiderate movement does the job. Unfortunately, damaged muscles are not as efficient at repair as other tissues such as bone. Researchers of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s Mouse Biology Unit (EMBL), Italy, and the Harefield Heart Science Centre of Imperial College London, have now discovered a molecular signal that helps muscle regenerate and protects it from atrophy. In this week’s issue of the Journal of Cell Biology they report that the naturally occurring protein is a promising candidate for new strategies in treating muscle damage and wasting.

Muscle regeneration after injury is complex and requires a coordinated interplay between many different processes. Key players in regeneration are muscle stem cells, so-called satellite cells. They divide and produce many new muscle cells to fix the damage incurred by injury. A crucial regulator of muscle function and repair is a signalling molecule called calcineurin. It is activated by injury and controls the activity of other key proteins involved in differentiation and the response to damage.

Nadia Rosenthal, head of EMBL’s Mouse Biology Unit, and her team have now found a naturally occurring version of calcineurin, called CnAß1 that is permanently active and uncouples the protein’s activity from injury signals. The expression of CnAß1, however, is tightly regulated. It is expressed from the same gene as other versions of the calcineurin Aß subunit that are not permanently active. CnAß1 gains its unique properties by a process called RNA splicing. When the gene has been copied from DNA into RNA certain pieces of information are cut out of the RNA molecule and will not make part of the protein. This is why CnAß1 lacks a regulatory site that normally represses its activity.

... more about:
»Calcineurin »CnAß1 »injury

“This system allows flexible reaction to muscle injury,” says Rosenthal. “Permanently active CnAß1 is expressed only in proliferating stem cells and regenerating muscles, suggesting it as something like an ambulance man that is called only in response to muscle damage.”

To test the effects of permanent CnAß1 expression Enrique Lara-Pezzi from Rosenthal’s lab overexpessed CnAß1 in muscle cells, and observed increased proliferation of muscle stem cells. Switching off the protein had the opposite effect; stem cells stopped dividing and differentiated into muscle cells instead. When CnAß1 was overexpressed in the muscles of transgenic mice, the animals were resistant to the destructive effects of muscle injury and regenerated the damage more efficiently.

Using sophisticated molecular techniques the scientists revealed that calcineurin accomplishes its effect on muscle by inhibiting another protein called FoxO. FoxO is a transcription factor, a protein that plays a crucial role in skeletal muscle atrophy through the induction of genes involved in cell cycle repression and protein degradation. Suppressing the effects of FoxO, calcineurin ensures that proliferating cells stay alive and keep dividing to produce enough cells to repair muscle damage.

“Supplementary CnAß1 also reduces the formation of scars in damaged muscle, helps speed up the resolution of inflammation and protects muscle cells from atrophy under starvation,” says Rosenthal. “These effects make CnAß1 a promising candidate for new therapeutic approaches against muscle wasting.”

Published on 17 December in Journal of Cell Biology.

Anna-Lynn Wegener
Press Officer
EMBL
Meyerhofstrasse 1
D-69117 Heidelberg
tel. +49-6221-3878452
fax +49-6221-387525
wegener@embl.de

Anna-Lynn Wegener | EMBL
Further information:
http://www.embl.org/aboutus/news/press/2007/17dec07/

Further reports about: Calcineurin CnAß1 injury

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>