Differences in the distribution of synemin, paranemin, and plectin in skeletal muscles of wild-type and desmin knock-out mice

Histochem Cell Biol. 2000 Jul;114(1):39-47. doi: 10.1007/s004180000158.


Mice lacking the gene encoding for the intermediate filament protein desmin have a surprisingly normal myofibrillar organization in skeletal muscle fibers, although myopathy develops in highly used muscles. In the present study we examined how synemin, paranemin, and plectin, three key cytoskeletal proteins related to desmin, are organized in normal and desmin knock-out (K/O) mice. We show that in wild-type mice, synemin, paranemin, and plectin were colocalized with desmin in Z-disc-associated striations and at the sarcolemma. All three proteins were also present at the myotendinous junctions and in the postsynaptic area of motor endplates. In the desmin K/O mice the distribution of plectin was unaffected, whereas synemin and paranemin were partly affected. The Z-disc-associated striations were in general no longer present in between the myofibrils. In contrast, at the myotendinous and neuromuscular junctions synemin and paranemin were still present. Our study shows that plectin differs from synemin and paranemin in its binding properties to the myofibrillar Z-discs and that the cytoskeleton in junctional areas is particularly complex in its organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Avian Proteins
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Desmin / genetics
  • Desmin / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Junction / ultrastructure
  • Plectin
  • Sarcolemma / metabolism
  • Sarcolemma / ultrastructure
  • Tendons / metabolism
  • Tendons / ultrastructure


  • Avian Proteins
  • Desmin
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Plec protein, mouse
  • Plectin
  • desmuslin
  • paranemin protein, chicken