Letter | Published:

Localization of muscle gene products in nuclear domains

Abstract

The localization of gene products is central to the development of cell polarity1,2 and pattern specification during embryogenesis3–5. To monitor the distribution of gene products encoded by different nuclei in the same cell in tissue culture, we fused cells of different species to form multinucleated non-dividing heterokaryons6,7. In previous fusion studies, cell-surface antigens and organelles contributed by disparate cell types intermixed within minutes8–11. Using heterokaryons produced with differentiated muscle cells, we demonstrate here that a muscle membrane component, the Golgi apparatus mediating its transport, and a sarcomeric myosin heavy chain are localized in the vicinity of the nuclei responsible for their synthesis. These results provide direct evidence that products (organelle, membrane and structural proteins) derived from individual nuclei can remain localized in myotubes, a finding with implications both for neuromuscular synapse formation and for the carrier state of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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