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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Myotonic dystrophy protein kinase expressed in rat cardiac muscle is associated with sarcoplasmic reticulum and gap junctions.

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is one of the most prevalent muscular diseases in adults. The molecular basis of this autosomal disorder has been identified as the expansion of a CTG repeat in the 3' untranslated region of a gene encoding a protein kinase (DMPK). The pathophysiology of the disease and the role of DMPK are still obscure. It has been previously demonstrated that DMPK is localized at neuromuscular junctions, myotendinous junctions, and terminal cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), in the skeletal muscle, and at intercalated discs in the cardiac muscle. We report here new findings about specific localization of DMPK in the heart. Polyclonal antibodies raised against a peptide sequence of the human DMPK were used to analyze the subcellular distribution of the protein in rat papillary muscles. Confocal laser microscopy revealed a strong although discontinuous reactivity at intercalated discs, together with transverse banding on the sarcoplasm. At higher resolution with immunogold electron microscopy, we observed that DMPK is localized at the cytoplasmic surface of junctional and extended junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum, suggesting that DMPK is involved in the regulation of excitation-contraction coupling. Along the intercalated disc, DMPK was found associated with gap junctions, whereas it was absent in the two other kinds of junctional complexes (fasciae adherentes and desmosomes). Immunogold labeling of gap junction purified fractions showed that DMPK co-localized with connexin 43, the major component of this type of intercellular junctions, suggesting that DMPK plays a regulatory role in the transmission of signals between myocytes.[1]


  1. Myotonic dystrophy protein kinase expressed in rat cardiac muscle is associated with sarcoplasmic reticulum and gap junctions. Mussini, I., Biral, D., Marin, O., Furlan, S., Salvatori, S. J. Histochem. Cytochem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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