Title

Evidence of post-transcriptional regulation in the maintenance of a partial muscle phenotype by electrogenic cells of S. macrurus

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Publication Title

The FASEB Journal

Department

Exercise Science

Abstract

Electrocytes, the current-producing cells of electric organs (EOs) in electric fish, are unique in that they derive from striated muscle and they possess biochemical characteristics of both muscle and non-muscle cells. In the freshwater teleost Sternopygus macrurus, electrocytes are multinucleated cells that do not contract yet retain expression of some proteins common to skeletal muscle cells. Given the role that transcriptional regulation plays in the activation of the myogenic program in vertebrates, we examined the expression patterns of several genes associated with multiple functions of skeletal muscle in mature electrocytes of S. macrurus. Our expression analyses detected transcripts for ?-actin, ?-acetylcholine (ACh) receptor (?-AChR), desmin, muscle creatine kinase (MCK), myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms, titin, tropomyosin, and troponin-T genes in the EO. However, immunolabeling studies revealed that electrocytes do not contain MCK, MHCs, or tropomyosin or troponin-T proteins. These results underscore the contribution of gene regulatory mechanisms in the maintenance of the muscle-like phenotype of EO that may be transcriptional-independent. We also report the classification and frequency of distinct transcripts from a random selection of 420 clones from an EO cDNA library. This is the first characterization of expressed genes in an EO, and it is an important step toward identifying mechanisms that affect different muscle protein systems for the evolution of highly specialized noncontractile tissues. Evidence of post-transcriptional regulation in the maintenance of a partial muscle phenotype by electrogenic cells of S. macrurus.—Cuellar, H., Jung, K. A., and Unguez, G. A. Evidence of post-transcriptional regulation in the maintenance of a partial muscle phenotype by electrogenic cells of S. macrurus.

ISSN

0892-6638