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Skeletal muscle

Deletion of the Ste20-like kinase SLK in skeletal muscle results in a progressive myopathy and muscle weakness.


PMID 28153048

Abstract

The Ste20-like kinase, SLK, plays an important role in cell proliferation and cytoskeletal remodeling. In fibroblasts, SLK has been shown to respond to FAK/Src signaling and regulate focal adhesion turnover through Paxillin phosphorylation. Full-length SLK has also been shown to be essential for embryonic development. In myoblasts, the overexpression of a dominant negative SLK is sufficient to block myoblast fusion. In this study, we crossed the Myf5-Cre mouse model with our conditional SLK knockout model to delete SLK in skeletal muscle. A thorough analysis of skeletal muscle tissue was undertaken in order to identify defects in muscle development caused by the lack of SLK. Isometric force analysis was performed on adult knockout mice and compared to age-matched wild-type mice. Furthermore, cardiotoxin injections were performed followed by immunohistochemistry for myogenic markers to assess the efficiency muscle regeneration following SLK deletion. We show here that early deletion of SLK from the myogenic lineage does not markedly impair skeletal muscle development but delays the regenerative process. Interestingly, adult mice (~6xa0months) display an increase in the proportion of central nuclei and increased p38 activation. Furthermore, mice as young as 3xa0months old present with decreased force generation, suggesting that the loss of SLK impairs myofiber stability and function. Assessment of structural components revealed aberrant localization of focal adhesion proteins, such as FAK and paxillin. Our data show that the loss of SLK results in unstable myofibers resulting in a progressive myopathy. Additionally, the loss of SLK resulted in a delay in muscle regeneration following cardiotoxin injections. Our results show that SLK is dispensable for muscle development and regeneration but is required for myofiber stability and optimal force generation.