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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2008 Sep;65(9):747-61. doi: 10.1002/cm.20299.

Role of nonmuscle myosin IIB and N-RAP in cell spreading and myofibril assembly in primary mouse cardiomyocytes.

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Department of Health and Human Services, Laboratory of Muscle Biology, National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda 20892-8024, Maryland, USA.


We investigated the role of nonmuscle myosin heavy chain (NMHC) IIB in cultured embryonic mouse cardiomyocytes by specific knockdown using RNA interference. NMHC IIB protein levels decreased 90% compared with mock-transfected cells by 3 days post transfection. NMHC IIB knockdown resulted in a slow decrease in N-RAP protein levels over 6 days with no change in N-RAP transcript levels. N-RAP is a scaffold for alpha-actinin and actin assembly during myofibrillogenesis, and we quantitated myofibril accumulation by morphometric analysis of alpha-actinin organization. Between 3 and 6 days, NMHC IIB knockdown was accompanied by the abolishment of cardiomyocyte spreading. During this period the rate of myofibril accumulation steadily decreased, correlating with the slowly decreasing levels of N-RAP. Between 6 and 8 days NMHC IIB and N-RAP protein levels recovered, and cardiomyocyte spreading and myofibril accumulation resumed. Inhibition of proteasome function using MG132 led to accumulation of excess N-RAP, and the secondary decrease in N-RAP that otherwise accompanied NMHC IIB knockdown was abolished. The results show that NMHC IIB knockdown led to decreased N-RAP levels through proteasome-mediated degradation. Furthermore, these proteins have distinct functional roles, with NMHC IIB playing a role in cardiomyocyte spreading and N-RAP functioning in myofibril assembly.

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