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      Collagens VI and XII form complexes mediating osteoblast interactions during osteogenesis

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          Bone formation is precisely regulated by cell-cell communication in osteoblasts. We have previously demonstrated that genetic deletion of Col6a1 or Col12a1 impairs osteoblast connections and/or communication in mice, resulting in bone mass reduction and bone fragility. Mutations of the genes encoding collagen VI cause Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy (UCMD) and Bethlem myopathy (BM), which have overlapping phenotypes involving connective tissue and muscle. Recent studies have identified COL12A1 gene mutations in patients with UCMD- and BM-like disorders harboring no COL6 mutations, indicating the shared functions of these collagens in connective tissue homeostasis. The purpose of this investigation has been to test the hypothesis that collagens VI and XII have coordinate regulatory role(s) during bone formation. We analyzed the localization of collagens VI and XII relative to primary osteoblasts during osteogenesis. Immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that collagens VI and XII colocalized in matrix bridges between adjacent cells during periods when osteoblasts were establishing cell-cell connections. Quantification of cells harboring collagen bridges demonstrated that matrix bridges were composed of collagens VI and XII but not collagen I. Interestingly, matrix bridge formation was impaired in osteoblasts deficient in either Col6a1 or Col12a1, suggesting that both collagens were indispensable for matrix bridge formation. These data demonstrate, for the first time, a functional relationship between collagens VI and XII during osteogenesis and indicate that a complex containing collagens VI and XII is essential for the formation of a communicating cellular network during bone formation.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00441-015-2345-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Autophagy is defective in collagen VI muscular dystrophies, and its reactivation rescues myofiber degeneration.

          Autophagy is crucial in the turnover of cell components, and clearance of damaged organelles by the autophagic-lysosomal pathway is essential for tissue homeostasis. Defects of this degradative system have a role in various diseases, but little is known about autophagy in muscular dystrophies. We have previously found that muscular dystrophies linked to collagen VI deficiency show dysfunctional mitochondria and spontaneous apoptosis, leading to myofiber degeneration. Here we demonstrate that this persistence of abnormal organelles and apoptosis are caused by defective autophagy. Skeletal muscles of collagen VI-knockout (Col6a1(-/-)) mice had impaired autophagic flux, which matched the lower induction of beclin-1 and BCL-2/adenovirus E1B-interacting protein-3 (Bnip3) and the lack of autophagosomes after starvation. Forced activation of autophagy by genetic, dietary and pharmacological approaches restored myofiber survival and ameliorated the dystrophic phenotype of Col6a1(-/-) mice. Furthermore, muscle biopsies from subjects with Bethlem myopathy or Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy had reduced protein amounts of beclin-1 and Bnip3. These findings indicate that defective activation of the autophagic machinery is pathogenic in some congenital muscular dystrophies.
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            Mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in myopathic mice with collagen VI deficiency.

            Collagen VI is an extracellular matrix protein that forms a microfilamentous network in skeletal muscles and other organs. Inherited mutations in genes encoding collagen VI in humans cause two muscle diseases, Bethlem myopathy and Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. We previously generated collagen VI-deficient (Col6a1-/-) mice and showed that they have a muscle phenotype that strongly resembles Bethlem myopathy. The pathophysiological defects and mechanisms leading to the myopathic disorder were not known. Here we show that Col6a1-/- muscles have a loss of contractile strength associated with ultrastructural alterations of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and mitochondria and spontaneous apoptosis. We found a latent mitochondrial dysfunction in myofibers of Col6a1-/- mice on incubation with the selective F1F(O)-ATPase inhibitor oligomycin, which caused mitochondrial depolarization, Ca2+ deregulation and increased apoptosis. These defects were reversible, as they could be normalized by plating Col6a1-/- myofibers on collagen VI or by addition of cyclosporin A (CsA), the inhibitor of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP). Treatment of Col6a1-/- mice with CsA rescued the muscle ultrastructural defects and markedly decreased the number of apoptotic nuclei in vivo. These findings indicate that collagen VI myopathies have an unexpected mitochondrial pathogenesis that could be exploited for therapeutic intervention.
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              Sequential roles of Hedgehog and Wnt signaling in osteoblast development.

              Signals that govern development of the osteoblast lineage are not well understood. Indian hedgehog (Ihh), a member of the hedgehog (Hh) family of proteins, is essential for osteogenesis in the endochondral skeleton during embryogenesis. The canonical pathway of Wnt signaling has been implicated by studies of Lrp5, a co-receptor for Wnt proteins, in postnatal bone mass homeostasis. In the present study we demonstrate that beta-catenin, a central player in the canonical Wnt pathway, is indispensable for osteoblast differentiation in the mouse embryo. Moreover, we present evidence that Wnt signaling functions downstream of Ihh in development of the osteoblast lineage. Finally Wnt7b is identified as a potential endogenous ligand regulating osteogenesis. These data support a model that integrates Hh and Wnt signaling in the regulation of osteoblast development.

                Author and article information

                +81-3-5803-4061 ,
                Cell Tissue Res
                Cell Tissue Res
                Cell and Tissue Research
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                12 January 2016
                12 January 2016
                : 364
                : 623-635
                [ ]Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, M&D Tower 24th, 5-45 1-Chome Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8549 Japan
                [ ]Institute for Dental Research and Musculoskeletal Biology, Center for Biochemistry, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
                [ ]Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology, University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida USA
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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