Transcriptional Regulation

Nuclear Autonomy in Multinucleated Cells

Science's STKE  15 Feb 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 19, pp. tw3
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.19.tw3

Skeletal muscle fibers are large multinucleated cells capable of developing highly specialized regions such as the neuromuscular junction (the site of nerve-muscle synapses). Rossi et al. developed a divided culture system to test whether individual nuclei of myotubes in culture can respond to local signals generated from the plasma membrane. Local membrane depolarization was controlled pharmacologically and the responses of the treated and untreated sides of the myotube compared. The amount of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) that was secreted and that accumulated at the cell surface was monitored. The transcription of AChE from individual nuclei was also determined. The data indicate that each nucleus can respond independently to locally generated signals.

Rossi, S.G., Vazquez, A.E., and Rotundo, R.L. (2000) Local control of acetylcholinesterase gene expression in multinucleated skeletal muscle fibers: Individual nuclei respond to signals from the overlying plasma membrane. J. Neurosci. 20: 919-928. [Abstract] [Full Text]