Variable cardiac α-actin (Actc1) expression in early adult skeletal muscle correlates with promoter methylation

Jordan K Boutilier, Rhonda L Taylor, Ramesh Ram, Elyshia McNamara, Quang Nguyen, Hayley Goullée, David Chandler, Munish Mehta, Lois Balmer, Nigel G Laing, Grant Morahan, Kristen J Nowak

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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Different genes encode the α-actin isoforms that are predominantly expressed in heart and skeletal muscle. Mutations in the skeletal muscle α-actin gene (ACTA1) cause muscle diseases that are mostly lethal in the early postnatal period. We previously demonstrated that the disease phenotype of ACTA1 mouse models could be rescued by transgenic over-expression of cardiac α-actin (ACTC1). ACTC1 is the predominant striated α-actin isoform in the heart but is also expressed in developing skeletal muscle. To develop a translatable therapy, we investigated the genetic regulation of Actc1 expression. Using strains from The Collaborative Cross (CC) genetic resource, we found that Actc1 varies in expression by up to 24-fold in skeletal muscle. We defined significant expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) associated with early adult Actc1 expression in soleus and heart. eQTL in both heart and soleus mapped to the Actc1 locus and replicate an eQTL mapped for Actc1 in BXD heart and quadriceps. We built on this previous work by analysing genes within the eQTL peak regions to prioritise likely candidates for modifying Actc1 expression. Additionally we interrogated the CC founder haplotype contributions to enable prioritisation of genetic variants for functional analyses. Methylation around the Actc1 transcriptional start site in early adult skeletal muscle negatively correlated with Actc1 expression in a strain-dependent manner, while other marks of regulatory potential (histone modification and chromatin accessibility) were unaltered. This study provides novel insights into the complex genetic regulation of Actc1 expression in early adult skeletal muscles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1036
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta: international journal of biochemistry and biophysics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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