Postnatal suppression of myomesin, muscle creatine kinase and the M-line in rat extraocular muscle

John D. Porter, Anita P. Merriam, Bendi Gong, Sriram Kasturi, Xiaohua Zhou, Kurt F. Hauser, Francisco H. Andrade, Georgiana Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The M-line and its associated creatine kinase (CK) M-isoform (CK-M) are ubiquitous features of skeletal and cardiac muscle. The M-line maintains myosin myofilaments in register, links the contractile apparatus to the cytoskeleton for external force transfer and localizes CK-based energy storage and transfer to the site of highest ATP demand. We establish here that the muscle group responsible for movements of the eye, extraocular muscle (EOM), is divergent from other striated muscles in lacking both an M-line and its associated CK-M. Although an M-line forms during myogenesis, both in vivo and in vitro, it is actively repressed after birth. Transcripts of the major M-line structural proteins, myomesin 1 and myomesin 2, follow the same pattern of postnatal downregulation, while the embryonic heart-specific EH-myomesin 1 transcript is expressed early and retained in adult eye muscle. By immunocytochemistry, myomesin protein is absent from adult EOM sarcomeres. M-line suppression does not occur in organotypic co-culture with oculomotor motoneurons, suggesting that the mechanism for suppression may lie in muscle group-specific activation or workload patterns experienced only in vivo. The M-line is, however, still lost in dark-reared rats, despite the developmental delay this paradigm produces in the visuomotor system and EOMs. EOM was low in all CK isoform transcripts except for the sarcomeric mitochondrial (Ckmt2) isoform. Total CK enzyme activity of EOM was one-third that of hindlimb muscle. These findings are singularly unique among fast-twitch skeletal muscles. Since EOM exhibits isoform diversity for other sarcomeric proteins, the M-line/CK-M divergence probably represents a key physiological adaptation for the unique energetics and functional demands placed on this muscle group in voluntary and reflexive eye movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3101-3112
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Creatine kinase
  • Extraocular muscle
  • M-line, myomesin
  • Myogenesis
  • Rat
  • Rattus norvegicus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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