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Differentiation. 2000 Dec;66(4-5):208-17.

Emerin expression at the early stages of myogenic differentiation.

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Istituto di Citomorfologia Normale e Patologica CNR, Via di Barbiano 1/10 40136 Bologna, Italy.


Emerin is an ubiquitous protein localized at the nuclear membrane of most cell types including muscle cells. The protein is absent in most patients affected by the X-linked form of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, a disease characterized by slowly progressive muscle wasting and weakness, early contractures of the elbows, Achilles tendons, and post-cervical muscles, and cardiomyopathy. Besides the nuclear localization, emerin cytoplasmic distribution has been suggested in several cell types. We studied the expression and the subcellular distribution of emerin in mouse cultured C2C12 myoblasts and in primary cultures of human myoblasts induced to differentiate or spontaneously differentiating in the culture medium. In differentiating myoblasts transiently transfected with a cDNA encoding the complete emerin sequence, the protein localized at the nuclear rim of all transfected cells and also in the cytoplasm of some myoblasts and myotubes. Cytoplasmic emerin was also observed in detergent-treated myotubes, as determined by electron microscopy observation. Both immunofluorescence and biochemical analysis showed, that upon differentiation of C2C12 cells, emerin expression was decreased in the resting myoblasts but the protein was highly represented in the developing myotubes at the early stage of cell fusion. Labeling with specific markers of myogenesis such as troponin-T and myogenin permitted the correlation of increased emerin expression with the onset of muscle differentiation. These data suggest a role for emerin during proliferation of activated satellite cells and at the early stages of differentiation.

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