Stability and secretion of acetylcholinesterase forms in skeletal muscle cells

J Neurosci. 1999 Oct 1;19(19):8252-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-19-08252.1999.


Muscle cells express a distinct splice variant of acetylcholinesterase (AChE(T)), but the specific mechanisms governing this restricted expression remain unclear. In these cells, a fraction of AChE subunits is associated with a triple helical collagen, ColQ, each strand of which can recruit a tetramer of AChE(T). In the present study, we examined the expression of the various splice variants of AChE by transfection in the mouse C2C12 myogenic cells in vitro, as well as in vivo by injecting plasmid DNA directly into tibialis anterior muscles of mice and rats. Surprisingly, we found that transfection with an ACHE(H) cDNA, generating a glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored enzyme species, produced much more activity than transfection with AChE(T) cDNA in both C2C12 cells and in vivo. This indicates that the exclusive expression of AChE(T) in mature muscle is governed by specific splicing. Interaction of AChE(T) subunits with the complete collagen tail ColQ increased enzyme activity in cultured cells, as well as in muscle fibers in vivo. Truncated ColQ subunits, presenting more or less extensive C-terminal deletions, also increased AChE activity and secretion in C2C12 cells, although the triple helix could not form in the case of the larger deletion. This suggests that heteromeric associations are stabilized compared with isolated AChE(T) subunits. Coinjections of AChE(T) and ColQ resulted in the production and secretion of asymmetric forms, indicating that assembly, processing, and externalization of these molecules can occur outside the junctional region of muscle fibers and hence does not require the specialized junctional Golgi apparatus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Acetylcholinesterase / chemistry
  • Acetylcholinesterase / genetics*
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Genetic Variation
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology*
  • Rats
  • Transfection


  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • Isoenzymes
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Acetylcholinesterase