MAPK signaling pathways and HDAC3 activity are disrupted during differentiation of emerin-null myogenic progenitor cells

Carol M. Collins, Joseph A. Ellis, James M. Holaska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Mutations in the gene encoding emerin cause Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD). Emerin is an integral inner nuclear membrane protein and a component of the nuclear lamina. EDMD is characterized by skeletal muscle wasting, cardiac conduction defects and tendon contractures. The failure to regenerate skeletal muscle is predicted to contribute to the skeletal muscle pathology of EDMD.We hypothesize that muscle regeneration defects are caused by impaired muscle stem cell differentiation. Myogenic progenitors derived from emerin-null mice were used to confirm their impaired differentiation and analyze selected myogenic molecular pathways. Emerin-null progenitorswere delayed in their cell cycle exit, had decreasedmyosin heavy chain (MyHC) expression and formed fewer myotubes. Emerin binds to and activates histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3). Here,we show that theophylline, an HDAC3-specific activator, improved myotube formation in emerin-null cells. Addition of the HDAC3-specific inhibitor RGFP966 blocked myotube formation and MyHC expression in wildtype and emerin-nullmyogenic progenitors, but did not affect cell cycle exit. Downregulation of emerin was previously shown to affect the p38 MAPK and ERK/MAPK pathways in C2C12 myoblast differentiation. Using a pure population of myogenic progenitors completely lacking emerin expression, we show that these pathways are also disrupted. ERK inhibition improved MyHC expression in emerin-null cells, but failed to rescue myotube formation or cell cycle exit. Inhibition of p38 MAPK prevented differentiation in both wild-type and emerinnull progenitors. These results show that each of these molecular pathways specifically regulates a particular stage of myogenic differentiation in an emerin-dependent manner. Thus, pharmacological targeting of multiple pathways acting at specific differentiation stages may be a better therapeutic approach in the future to rescue muscle regeneration in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-397
Number of pages13
JournalDMM Disease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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