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Imbrici P.,University of Bari | Maggi L.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Mangiatordi G.F.,University of Bari | Dinardo M.M.,University of Bari | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2015

Myotonia congenita is an inherited disease caused by loss-of-function mutations of the skeletal muscle ClC-1 chloride channel, characterized by impaired muscle relaxation after contraction and stiffness. In the present study, we provided an in-depth characterization of F484L, a mutation previously identified in dominant myotonia, in order to define the genotype-phenotype correlation, and to elucidate the contribution of this pore residue to the mechanisms of ClC-1 gating. Patch-clamp recordings showed that F484L reduced chloride currents at every tested potential and dramatically right-shifted the voltage dependence of slow gating, thus contributing to the mild clinical phenotype of affected heterozygote carriers. Unlike dominant mutations located at the dimer interface, no dominant-negative effect was observed when F484L mutant subunits were co-expressed with wild type. Molecular dynamics simulations further revealed that F484L affected the slow gate by increasing the frequency and stability of the H-bond formation between the pore residue E232 and the R helix residue Y578. In addition, using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we characterized three other myotonic ClC-1 mutations. We proved that the dominant L198P mutation in the channel pore also right-shifted the voltage dependence of slow gating, recapitulating mild myotonia. The recessive V640G mutant drastically reduced channel function, which probably accounts for myotonia. In contrast, the recessive L628P mutant produced currents very similar to wild type, suggesting that the occurrence of the compound truncating mutation (Q812X) or other muscle-specific mechanisms accounted for the severe symptoms observed in this family. Our results provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying normal and altered ClC-1 function. Journal compilation © 2015 The Physiological Society.

Turati L.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Moscatelli M.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Mastropietro A.,Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta | Dowell N.G.,Brighton and Sussex Medical School | And 9 more authors.
NMR in Biomedicine | Year: 2015

The pool size ratio measured by quantitative magnetization transfer MRI is hypothesized to closely reflect myelin density, but their relationship has so far been confirmed mostly in ex vivo conditions. We investigate the correspondence between this parameter measured in vivo at 7.0T, with Black Gold II staining for myelin fibres, and with myelin basic protein and beta-tubulin immunofluorescence in a hybrid longitudinal study of C57BL/6 and SJL/J mice treated with cuprizone, a neurotoxicant causing relatively selective myelin loss followed by spontaneous remyelination upon treatment suspension. Our results confirm that pool size ratio measurements correlate with myelin content, with the correlation coefficient depending on strain and staining method, and demonstrate the in vivo applicability of this MRI technique to experimental mouse models of multiple sclerosis. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Cappelletti C.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Galbardi B.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Kapetis D.,Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases Unit | Vattemi G.,University of Verona | And 7 more authors.
PloS one | Year: 2014

Autophagy has a large range of physiological functions and its dysregulation contributes to several human disorders, including autoinflammatory/autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory myopathies (IIMs). In order to better understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these muscular disorders, we sought to define the role of autophagic processes and their relation with the innate immune system in the three main subtypes of IIM, specifically sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM) and juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). We found that although the mRNA transcript levels of the autophagy-related genes BECN1, ATG5 and FBXO32 were similar in IIM and controls, autophagy activation in all IIM subgroups was suggested by immunoblotting results and confirmed by immunofluorescence. TLR4 and TLR3, two potent inducers of autophagy, were highly increased in IIM, with TLR4 transcripts significantly more expressed in PM and DM than in JDM, sIBM and controls, and TLR3 transcripts highly up-regulated in all IIM subgroups compared to controls. Co-localization between autophagic marker, LC3, and TLR4 and TLR3 was observed not only in sIBM but also in PM, DM and JDM muscle tissues. Furthermore, a highly association with the autophagic processes was observed in all IIM subgroups also for some TLR4 ligands, endogenous and bacterial HSP60, other than the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). These findings indicate that autophagic processes are active not only in sIBM but also in PM, DM and JDM, probably in response to an exogenous or endogenous 'danger signal'. However, autophagic activation and regulation, and also interaction with the innate immune system, differ in each type of IIM. Better understanding of these differences may lead to new therapies for the different IIM types.

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