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Exp Cell Res. 2001 Feb 1;263(1):23-32.

Protein kinase C signaling controls skeletal muscle fiber types.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, FUHS/Chicago Medical School, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, Illinois 60064, USA.


Slow myosin heavy chain 2 (MyHC2) gene expression in fetal avian skeletal muscle fibers is regulated by innervation and protein kinase C (PKC) activity. Fetal chick muscle fibers derived from the slow twitch medial adductor (MA) muscle express slow MyHC2 when innervated in vitro. The same pattern of slow MyHC2 regulation occurs in MA muscle fibers in which PKC activity is inhibited by staurosporine. To further test the function of PKC activity in the regulation of slow MyHC2 expression, wild-type and dominant-negative mutations of PKCalpha and PKCtheta were overexpressed in MA muscle fibers in vitro. Overexpression of wild-type PKCalpha and PKCtheta cDNAs resulted in increased PKC activities in muscle fibers and concomitant repression of slow MyHC2 expression under conditions that normally induced gene expression. Point mutations leading to single amino acid substitutions were generated in the ATP binding domains of PKCalpha and PKCtheta. Overexpression of CMVPKCalphaR368 and CMVPKCthetaR409 resulted in decreased PKC activities in transfected MA muscle fibers. Furthermore, transfection of CMVPKCalphaR368 and CMVPKCthetaR409 mutant constructs into MA muscle fibers did not repress the capacity of these fibers to express slow MyHC2 when cultured in medium containing staurosporine or when innervated. These results indicate that PKC activity represses slow MyHC2 expression and that PKC down-regulation, possibly in response to innervation, is required but not sufficient for slow MyHC2 expression.

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