Inhibitors arrest myofibrillogenesis in skeletal muscle cells at early stages of assembly

Maria L. Golson, Jean M. Sanger, Joseph W. Sanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A three-step model for myofibrillogenesis has been proposed for the formation of myofibrils [Rhee et al., 1994: Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 28:1-24; Sanger et al., 2002: Adv. Exp. Med. 481:89-105]: premyofibril to nascent myofibril to mature myofibril. We have found two chemically related inhibitors that will arrest development at both the first and second step. Cultured quail embryonic skeletal myoblasts were treated with ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) or 2-aminoethyl-methanesulfonate (MTSEA+). When the myoblasts fused in the presence of either of these compounds, myosheets rather than myotubes formed. Treated cells were fixed and immunostained against multiple proteins commonly found in muscle cells. Protein expression and localization throughout the myosheet were similar to that of developing myotube tips. Cells treated with high concentrations of EMS (10 mM) stained for non-muscle myosin II, sarcomeric alpha-actinin, and tropomyosin. No zeugmatin (Z-band region of titin) or muscle myosin II antibody staining was detected in fibers in this treatment group. These fibers are comparable to premyofibrils in control myotubes. At lower concentrations of EMS (7.5 to 5 mM), fibers that formed stained for muscle myosin II and titin as well as for non-muscle myosin HB, sarcomeric alpha-actinin, and tropomyosin. Muscle myosin II was in an unbanded pattern. These fibers are comparable to nascent myofibrils observed during normal myofibrillogenesis. Similar effects to those obtained by treating cells with EMS were obtained when we treated cultured cells with MTSEA+ (5 mM) and stained them with sarcomeric alpha-actinin. MTSEA+ is chemically related to EMS, and is a well-known inhibitor of ryanodine receptors in skeletal muscle cells. Some abnormalities such as nemaline-like rods and other protein aggregates also appear within the myosheet during EMS and MTSEA+ treatment. Removal of these two inhibitors of myofibrillogenesis allows the premyofibrils and nascent myofibrils to form mature myofibrils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha-actinin
  • Inhibitors
  • Mature myofibrils
  • Muscle myosin II
  • Nascent myofibrils
  • Non-muscle myosin II
  • Premyofibrils
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Sarcomere
  • Titin
  • Tropomyosin
  • Troponin T
  • Z-bands
  • Z-bodies
  • Zeugmatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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