The ubiquitously expressed multifunctional cytolinker protein plectin is essential for muscle fiber integrity and myofiber cytoarchitecture. Patients suffering from plectinopathy-associated epidermolysis bullosa simplex with muscular dystrophy (EBS-MD) and mice lacking plectin in skeletal muscle display pathological desmin-positive protein aggregation and misalignment of Z-disks, which are hallmarks of myofibrillar myopathies (MFMs). Here, we developed immortalized murine myoblast cell lines to examine the pathogenesis of plectinopathies at the molecular and single cell level. Plectin-deficient myotubes, derived from myoblasts, were fully functional and mirrored the pathological features of EBS-MD myofibers, including the presence of desmin-positive protein aggregates and a concurrent disarrangement of the myofibrillar apparatus. Using this cell model, we demonstrated that plectin deficiency leads to increased intermediate filament network and sarcomere dynamics, marked upregulation of HSPs, and reduced myotube resilience following mechanical stretch. Currently, no specific therapy or treatment is available to improve plectin-related or other forms of MFMs; therefore, we assessed the therapeutic potential of chemical chaperones to relieve plectinopathies. Treatment with 4-phenylbutyrate resulted in remarkable amelioration of the pathological phenotypes in plectin-deficient myotubes as well as in plectin-deficient mice. Together, these data demonstrate the biological relevance of the MFM cell model and suggest that this model has potential use for the development of therapeutic approaches for EBS-MD.
Lilli Winter, Ilona Staszewska, Eva Mihailovska, Irmgard Fischer, Wolfgang H. Goldmann, Rolf Schröder, Gerhard Wiche
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.