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Neuromuscul Disord. 2006 Jun;16(6):368-73. Epub 2006 May 11.

Lamin A/C assembly defects in Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy can be regulated by culture medium composition.

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Centre for Inherited Neuromuscular Disease, RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry SY10 7AG, UK.


Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy results from mutations in either emerin or lamin A/C and is caused by loss of some unknown function of emerin-lamin A/C complexes. This function must be of special importance in the skeletal and cardiac muscles that are affected by the disease. Some lamin A/C mutant proteins form 'nuclear foci' in the nucleoplasm when overexpressed by transient transfection and similar aggregates have been seen in cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, suggesting that mis-assembly of the A-type lamina may be involved in the pathogenesis. Whereas an earlier study of cultured skin fibroblasts compared several different missense mutations in lamin A/C, we have chosen to study one particular Emery-Dreifuss mutation (R249Q) in greater detail. We found that the proportion of fibroblast nuclei containing abnormal lamin A/C aggregates can vary from 0.5 to 23.6% depending on the culture conditions. In particular, switching from a 'slow growth' medium to 'rapid growth' media increased both the number and size of nuclear aggregates. Similar results were obtained with fibroblasts from a second unrelated patient with the same mutation. In contrast to these aggregates of endogenous lamin A/C, 'nuclear foci' formed after transfection of mouse embryo fibroblasts by mutant lamin A/C were not affected by culture conditions. Faulty assembly of the nuclear lamina by mutated lamin A/C molecules could be partly responsible for the disease phenotype, though this has not been proven. The present study suggests that inappropriate lamin A/C assembly may be preventable by manipulation of cell growth conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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