Dysferlin is a membrane-associated protein implicated in muscular dystrophy and vesicle movement and function in muscles. The precise role of dysferlin has been debated, partly because of the mild phenotype in dysferlin-null mice (Dysf). We bred Dysf mice to mice lacking myoferlin (MKO) to generate mice lacking both myoferlin and dysferlin (FER). FER animals displayed progressive muscle damage with myofiber necrosis, internalized nuclei, and, at older ages, chronic remodeling and increasing creatine kinase levels. These changes were most prominent in proximal limb and trunk muscles and were more severe than in Dysf mice. Consistently, FER animals had reduced ad libitum activity. Ultrastructural studies uncovered progressive dilation of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and ectopic and misaligned transverse tubules in FER skeletal muscle. FER muscle, and Dysf- and MKO-null muscle, exuded lipid, and serum glycerol levels were elevated in FER and Dysf mice. Glycerol injection into muscle is known to induce myopathy, and glycerol exposure promotes detachment of transverse tubules from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Dysf, MKO, and FER muscles were highly susceptible to glycerol exposure in vitro, demonstrating a dysfunctional sarcotubule system, and in vivo glycerol exposure induced severe muscular dystrophy, especially in FER muscle. Together, these findings demonstrate the importance of dysferlin and myoferlin for transverse tubule function and in the genesis of muscular dystrophy.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.