The American journal of physiology

C2C12 cells: biophysical, biochemical, and immunocytochemical properties.

PMID 8023908


We examined the myofibril biochemical, structural, and biophysical properties of C2C12, a mouse skeletal muscle cell line (American Type Culture Collection), to assess whether force development and the sensitivity of the myofilaments to calcium could be measured in C2C12 myotubes and whether a cardiac contractile protein, troponin T, is expressed and incorporated into C2C12 myofibrils. When myoblasts fused and differentiated into myotubes, expression of myofilament proteins was initiated. Multiple cardiac and skeletal muscle troponin T isoforms were coexpressed. Cardiac troponin T expression increased and then decreased with time. Fluorescence immunocytochemistry demonstrated incorporation of cardiac troponin T isoforms into the myofibrils. At the time of the biophysical studies, mean myotube diameter was 12 microns (range 5-25 microns), and mean length was 290 microns (range 130-520 microns). The estimated maximum force developed by chemically skinned myotubes at 6-7 days poststarvation, 0.88 +/- 0.12 microN (mean +/- 95% confidence interval, n = 5), was significantly less (P < 0.05) than that at 10-13 days poststarvation, 1.12 +/- 0.12 microN (n = 7). The force-pCa relation yielded a Hill coefficient of 2.9 +/- 0.6 (n = 7) and half-maximal activation at pCa of 5.77 +/- 0.20. The demonstration that the biophysical properties of C2C12 cells can be measured and that cardiac and skeletal muscle troponin T isoforms are incorporated and colocalized into myofibrils suggest that these cells could be a useful model to assess the effects of exogenous native and mutated cardiac and skeletal contractile protein isoforms on myofilament function.