Proline isomerase pin1 represses terminal differentiation and myocyte enhancer factor 2C function in skeletal muscle cells

Alessandro Magli, Cecilia Angelelli, Massimo Ganassi, Fiorenza Baruffaldi, Vittoria Matafora, Renata Battini, Angela Bachi, Graziella Messina, Alessandra Rustighi, Giannino Del Sal, Stefano Ferrari, Susanna Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Reversible proline-directed phosphorylation at Ser/Thr-Pro motifs has an essential role in myogenesis, a multistep process strictly regulated by several signaling pathways that impinge on two families of myogenic effectors, the basic helix-loop-helix myogenic transcription factors and the MEF2 (myocyte enhancer factor 2) proteins. The question of how these signals are deciphered by the myogenic effectors remains largely unaddressed. In this study, we show that the peptidyl-prolyl isomerase Pin1, which catalyzes the isomerization of phosphorylated Ser/Thr-Pro peptide bonds to induce conformational changes of its target proteins, acts as an inhibitor of muscle differentiation because its knockdown in myoblasts promotes myotube formation. With the aim of clarifying the mechanism of Pin1 function in skeletal myogenesis, we investigated whether MEF2C, a critical regulator of the myogenic program that is the end point of several signaling pathways, might serve as a/the target for the inhibitory effects of Pin1 on muscle differentiation. We show that Pin1 interacts selectively with phosphorylated MEF2C in skeletal muscle cells, both in vitro and in vivo. The interaction with Pin1 requires two novel critical phospho-Ser/Thr-Pro motifs in MEF2C, Ser98 and Ser110, which are phosphorylated in vivo. Overexpression of Pin1 decreases MEF2C stability and activity and its ability to cooperate with MyoD to activate myogenic conversion. Collectively, these findings reveal a novel role for Pin1 as a regulator of muscle terminal differentiation and suggest that Pin1-mediated repression of MEF2C function could contribute to this function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34518-34527
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 5 2010
Externally publishedYes


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