Mutations in the gene encoding emerin cause Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD). Emerin is an integral inner nuclear membrane protein and a component of the nuclear lamina. EDMD is characterized by skeletal muscle wasting, cardiac conduction defects and tendon contractures. The failure to regenerate skeletal muscle is predicted to contribute to the skeletal muscle pathology of EDMD. We hypothesize muscle regeneration defects are caused by impaired muscle stem cell differentiation. Myogenic progenitors derived from emerin-null mice were used to confirm their impaired differentiation and analyze selected myogenic molecular pathways. Emerin-null progenitors were delayed in their cell cycle exit, had decreased myosin heavy chain (MyHC) expression and formed fewer myotubes. Emerin binds to and activates histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3). Here we show theophylline, an HDAC3-specific activator, improved myotube formation in emerin-null cells. Addition of the HDAC3-specific inhibitor RGFP966 blocked myotube formation and MyHC expression in wildtype and emerin-null myogenic progenitors, but did not affect cell cycle exit. Downregulation of emerin was previously shown to affect the p38 and ERK MAPK pathways in C2C12 myoblast differentiation. Using a pure population of myogenic progenitors completely lacking emerin expression we show these pathways are also disrupted. ERK inhibition improved MyHC expression in emerin-null cells, but failed to rescue myotube formation or cell cycle exit. p38 MAPK inhibition prevented differentiation in both wildtype and emerin-null progenitors. These results show each of these molecular pathways specifically regulate particular stages of myogenic differentiation in an emerin-dependent manner. Thus, pharmacological targeting of multiple pathways acting at specific differentiation stages may be a better therapeutic approach in the future to rescue muscle regeneration in vivo.
- Received November 23, 2016.
- Accepted February 1, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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