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Myofibre Hyper-Contractility in Horses Expressing the Myosin Heavy Chain Myopathy Mutation, MYH1E321G


Myosinopathies are defined as a group of muscle disorders characterized by mutations in genes encoding myosin heavy chains. Their exact molecular and cellular mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we have focused our attention on a MYH1-related E321G amino acid substitution within the head region of the type IIx skeletal myosin heavy chain, associated with clinical signs of atrophy, inflammation and/or profound rhabdomyolysis, known as equine myosin heavy chain myopathy. We performed Mant-ATP chase experiments together with force measurements on isolated IIx myofibres from control horses (MYH1E321G-/-) and Quarter Horses homozygous (MYH1E321G+/+) or heterozygous (MYH1E321G+/-) for the E321G mutation. The single residue replacement did not affect the relaxed conformations of myosin molecules. Nevertheless, it significantly increased its active behaviour as proven by the higher maximal force production and Ca2+ sensitivity for MYH1E321G+/+ in comparison with MYH1E321G+/- and MYH1E321G-/- horses. Altogether, these findings indicate that, in the presence of the E321G mutation, a molecular and cellular hyper-contractile phenotype occurs which could contribute to the development of the myosin heavy chain myopathy.

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