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FEBS letters

Amino-terminally truncated desmin rescues fusion of des(-/-) myoblasts but negatively affects cardiomyogenesis and smooth muscle development.


PMID 12123837

Abstract

Desmin fulfils important functions in maintenance of muscle cells and mutations in the desmin gene have been linked to a variety of myopathies. To ascertain the role of desmin's amino-terminal domain in muscle cells we generated embryonic stem cells constitutively expressing desmin(Delta1-48) in a null background and investigated muscle cell development in vitro. Desmin(Delta1-48) lacking the first 48 amino acid residues promotes fusion of myoblasts, rescues myogenesis and down-regulates vimentin expression in embryoid bodies, but hampers cardiomyogenesis and blocks smooth muscle development. These results demonstrate that desmin's amino-terminus has different roles in skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle cell development and function.