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Am J Pathol. 2006 Sep;169(3):761-73.

BAG3 deficiency results in fulminant myopathy and early lethality.

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Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, CA, USA.


Bcl-2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) is a member of a conserved family of cyto-protective proteins that bind to and regulate Hsp70 family molecular chaperones. Here, we show that BAG3 is prominently expressed in striated muscle and colocalizes with Z-disks. Mice with homozygous disruption of the bag3 gene developed normally but deteriorated postnatally with stunted growth evident by 1 to 2 weeks of age and death by 4 weeks. BAG3-deficient animals developed a fulminant myopathy characterized by noninflammatory myofibrillar degeneration with apoptotic features. Knockdown of bag3 expression in cultured C2C12 myoblasts increased apoptosis on induction of differentiation, suggesting a need for bag3 for maintenance of myotube survival and confirming a cell autonomous role for bag3 in muscle. We conclude that although BAG3 is not required for muscle development, this co-chaperone appears to be critically important for maintenance of mature skeletal muscle.

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