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J Biol Chem. 2014 May 9;289(19):13615-26. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.550418. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Z-disc-associated, alternatively spliced, PDZ motif-containing protein (ZASP) mutations in the actin-binding domain cause disruption of skeletal muscle actin filaments in myofibrillar myopathy.

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From the Neurogenetics Branch, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-3075.


The core of skeletal muscle Z-discs consists of actin filaments from adjacent sarcomeres that are cross-linked by α-actinin homodimers. Z-disc-associated, alternatively spliced, PDZ motif-containing protein (ZASP)/Cypher interacts with α-actinin, myotilin, and other Z-disc proteins via the PDZ domain. However, these interactions are not sufficient to maintain the Z-disc structure. We show that ZASP directly interacts with skeletal actin filaments. The actin-binding domain is between the modular PDZ and LIM domains. This ZASP region is alternatively spliced so that each isoform has unique actin-binding domains. All ZASP isoforms contain the exon 6-encoded ZASP-like motif that is mutated in zaspopathy, a myofibrillar myopathy (MFM), whereas the exon 8-11 junction-encoded peptide is exclusive to the postnatal long ZASP isoform (ZASP-LΔex10). MFM is characterized by disruption of skeletal muscle Z-discs and accumulation of myofibrillar degradation products. Wild-type and mutant ZASP interact with α-actin, α-actinin, and myotilin. Expression of mutant, but not wild-type, ZASP leads to Z-disc disruption and F-actin accumulation in mouse skeletal muscle, as in MFM. Mutations in the actin-binding domain of ZASP-LΔex10, but not other isoforms, cause disruption of the actin cytoskeleton in muscle cells. These isoform-specific mutation effects highlight the essential role of the ZASP-LΔex10 isoform in F-actin organization. Our results show that MFM-associated ZASP mutations in the actin-binding domain have deleterious effects on the core structure of the Z-discs in skeletal muscle.


Actin; Actinin; Muscular Dystrophy; Myofibrillar Myopathy; Myotilin; Protein Complex; Protein-Protein Interaction; Skeletal Muscle; Z-disc; ZASP

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