Adaptation by alternative RNA splicing of slow troponin T isoforms in type 1 but not type 2 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2008 Sep;295(3):C722-31. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00110.2008. Epub 2008 Jun 25.


Slow troponin T (TnT) plays an indispensable role in skeletal muscle function. Alternative RNA splicing in the NH(2)-terminal region produces high-molecular-weight (HMW) and low-molecular-weight (LMW) isoforms of slow TnT. Normal adult slow muscle fibers express mainly HMW slow TnT. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a group of inherited peripheral polyneuropathies caused by various neuronal defects. We found in the present study that LMW slow TnT was significantly upregulated in demyelination form type 1 CMT (CMT1) but not axonal form type 2 CMT (CMT2) muscles. Contractility analysis showed an increased specific force in single fibers isolated from CMT1 but not CMT2 muscles compared with control muscles. However, an in vitro motility assay showed normal velocity of the myosin motor isolated from CMT1 and CMT2 muscle biopsies, consistent with their unchanged myosin isoform contents. Supporting a role of slow TnT isoform regulation in contractility change, LMW and HMW slow TnT isoforms showed differences in the molecular conformation in conserved central and COOH-terminal regions with changed binding affinity for troponin I and tropomyosin. In addition to providing a biochemical marker for the differential diagnosis of CMT, the upregulation of LMW slow TnT isoforms under the distinct pathophysiology of CMT1 demonstrates an adaptation of muscle function to neurological disorders by alternative splicing modification of myofilament proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / metabolism*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Muscle Contraction / genetics*
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Muscle Fibers, Slow-Twitch / metabolism*
  • Muscle Strength / genetics*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Tropomyosin / metabolism
  • Troponin I / metabolism
  • Troponin T / genetics
  • Troponin T / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tropomyosin
  • Troponin I
  • Troponin T
  • Myosins
  • Calcium