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Muscle cells point the finger at each other

Date:
November 24, 2010
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
A new study reveals that muscle cells fuse together during development by poking "fingers" into each other to help break down the membranes separating them.
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A new study reveals that muscle cells fuse together during development by poking "fingers" into each other to help break down the membranes separating them. The study appears online on November 22, 2010 in the Journal of Cell Biology.

During muscle development, individual muscle cells fuse together to form long myotubes containing multiple cell nuclei. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, fusion occurs between two different types of muscle cell: founder cells and fusion-competent myoblasts. Using electron microscopy to analyze developing fly embryos, Elizabeth Chen and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, discovered that fusion-competent myoblasts send multiple "finger-like" protrusions into neighboring founder cells. These fingers contained large amounts of the cytoskeletal protein actin, and their formation required several proteins that stimulate the assembly of actin molecules into long filaments.

The actin-rich fingers helped form a small pore connecting the founder cell and fusion-competent myoblast, which gradually expands to fuse the two cell types together. The researchers think that the fingers assist pore formation by pushing the two cell membranes extremely close to each other.

The structure and behavior of these myoblast fingers are very similar to other types of actin-rich protrusions called invadosomes that researchers have previously identified in cancer cells and other cell types in culture. But this is the first example of this type of structure in a developing tissue. The researchers now want to investigate how these invasive myoblast fingers are formed and controlled.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristin L. Sens, Shiliang Zhang, Peng Jin, Rui Duan, Guofeng Zhang, Fengbao Luo, Lauren Parachini, and Elizabeth H. Chen. An Invasive Podosome-Like Structure Promotes Fusion Pore Formation During Myoblast Fusion. Journal of Cell Biology, November 22, 2010 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201006006

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Rockefeller University Press. "Muscle cells point the finger at each other." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121631.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2010, November 24). Muscle cells point the finger at each other. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121631.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Muscle cells point the finger at each other." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121631.htm (accessed July 28, 2015).

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