, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 577-586

p0071, a member of the armadillo multigene family, is a constituent of sarcomeric I-bands in human skeletal muscle

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p0071 is a member of the armadillo gene family that is expressed in a wide variety of mammalian tissues and cell types with a prominent cell–cell contact association in epithelial cells. Here, we report the expression and localization patterns of p0071 in differentiating human skeletal muscle cells and in normal and diseased human skeletal muscle tissues. Northern blots revealed expression of p0071 mRNA in adult skeletal muscle tissue. RT-PCR analysis and Western blotting experiments identified two differentially spliced isoforms of p0071. The balance between these isoforms shifted during in vitro differentiation of isolated muscle cells from predominant expression of the short variant to a preponderance of the larger variant from day 6 onwards. Immunolocalization studies in mature skeletal muscle tissue revealed that p0071 is a constituent of myofibrils with a distinct localization at the level of sarcomeric N2-lines. During myofibrillogenesis, p0071 was not detected in non-striated nascent myofibrils, but became apparent shortly after the development of compact Z-discs in early myotubes. Furthermore, we studied the expression of p0071 in a wide variety of neuromuscular disorders by indirect immunofluorescence. Here, the myofibrillar staining of p0071 was preserved in all the disease entities included in our study. Our results provide the first evidence that a member of the armadillo multigene family is a constituent of the contractile apparatus in human skeletal muscle. The localization of p0071 at the level of I-bands and the timepoint of its integration into developing myofibrils suggest a possible role in the organization of thin filaments.