Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 1999 Jun 15;210(2):367-80.

Dystonin-deficient mice exhibit an intrinsic muscle weakness and an instability of skeletal muscle cytoarchitecture.

Author information

Centre for Molecular Medicine, Ottawa General Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 8L6, Canada.


Dystonia musculorum (dt) was originally described as a hereditary sensory neurodegeneration syndrome of the mouse. The gene defective in dt encodes a cytoskeletal linker protein, dystonin, that is essential for maintaining neuronal cytoskeletal integrity. In addition to the nervous system, dystonin is expressed in a variety of other tissues, including muscle. We now show that dystonin cross-links actin and desmin filaments and that its levels are increased during myogenesis, coinciding with the progressive reorganization of the intermediate filament network. A disorganization of cytoarchitecture in skeletal muscle from dt/dt mice was observed in ultrastructural studies. Myoblasts from dt/dt mice fused to form myotubes in culture; however, terminally differentiated myotubes contained incompletely assembled myofibrils. Another feature observed in dt/dt myotubes in culture and in skeletal muscle in situ was an accumulation and abnormal distribution of mitochondria. The diaphragm muscle from dt/dt mice was weak in isometric contractility measurements in vitro and was susceptible to contraction-induced sarcolemmal damage. Altogether, our data indicate that dystonin is a cross-linker of actin and desmin filaments in muscle and that it is essential for establishing and maintaining proper cytoarchitecture in mature muscle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center