Acheron, a Lupus antigen family member, regulates integrin expression, adhesion, and motility in differentiating myoblasts

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Acheron (Achn) was originally identified as novel gene that is induced when insect muscles become committed to die at the end of metamorphosis. In separate studies, we have demonstrated that Achn acts upstream of MyoD and is required by mammalian myoblasts to either differentiate or undergo apoptosis following loss of growth factors. In the present study we examined the role of Achn in regulating integrin-extracellular matrix interactions that are required for myogenesis. Both control C2C12 myoblasts and those engineered to express ectopic Achn expressed the fibronectin receptor integrin alpha(5)beta(1) in the presence of growth factors and the laminin receptor alpha(7)beta(1) following growth factor withdrawal. Expression of the laminin receptor was blocked in cells expressing either Achn antisense or an Achn deletion mutant that blocks differentiation. Control cells and those expressing ectopic Achn undergo sequential and transient increases in both substrate adhesion and migration before cell fusion. Blockade of Achn expression reduced these effects on laminin but not on fibronectin. Taken together, these data suggest that Achn may influence differentiation in part via its control of cell adhesion dynamics.

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