The activity and assembly of various myosin subtypes is coordinated by conserved UCS (UNC-45/CRO1/She4p) domain proteins. One founding member of the UCS family is the Caenorhabditis elegans UNC-45 protein important for the organization of striated muscle filaments. Our recent structural and biochemical results demonstrated that UNC-45 forms a protein chain with defined periodicity of myosin interaction domains. Intriguingly, the UNC-45 chain serves as docking platform for myosin molecules, which promotes ordered spacing and incorporation of myosin into contractile muscle sarcomeres. The physiological relevance of this observation was demonstrated in C. elegans by transgenic expression of UNC-45 chain formation mutants, which provokes defects in muscle structure and size. Collaborating with the molecular chaperones, Hsp70 and Hsp90, chain formation of UNC-45 links myosin folding with myofilament assembly. Here, we discuss our recent findings on the dynamic regulation of UNC-45 structure and stability in the context of muscle regeneration mechanisms that are affected in myopathic diseases and during aging.
Keywords: C. elegans; CDC-48/p97; UNC-45; aging; molecular chaperone; myofibrillogenesis; proteostasis; sarcopenia; ubiquitin.