KBTBD13 is an actin-binding protein that modulates muscle kinetics

The mechanisms that modulate the kinetics of muscle relaxation are critically important for muscle function. A prime example of the impact of impaired relaxation kinetics is nemaline myopathy caused by mutations in KBTBD13 (NEM6). In addition to weakness, NEM6 patients have slow muscle relaxation, compromising contractility and daily-life activities.

The role of KBTBD13 in muscle is unknown, and the pathomechanism underlying NEM6 is undetermined. A combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation-induced muscle relaxation, muscle fiber- and sarcomere-contractility assays, low angle X-ray diffraction and super-resolution microscopy revealed that the impaired muscle relaxation kinetics in NEM6 patients are caused by structural changes in the thin filament, a sarcomeric microstructure. Using homology modeling, binding- and contractility assays with recombinant KBTBD13, novel Kbtbd13-knockout and Kbtbd13R408C-knockin mouse models and a GFP-labeled Kbtbd13- transgenic zebrafish model, the researchers discovered that KBTBD13 binds to actin – a major constituent of the thin filament – and that mutations in KBTBD13 cause structural changes impairing muscle relaxation kinetics.

The authors propose that this actin-based impaired relaxation is central to NEM6 pathology.


KBTBD13 is an actin-binding protein that modulates muscle kinetics. de Winter JM, Molenaar JP, Yuen M, van der Pijl R, Shen S, Conijn S, van de Locht M, Willigenburg M, Bogaards SJ, van Kleef ES, Lassche S, Persson M, Rassier DE, Sztal TE, Ruparelia AA, Oorschot V, Ramm G, Hall TE, Xiong Z, Johnson CN, Li F, Kiss B, Lozano-Vidal N, Boon RA, Marabita M, Nogara L, Blaauw B, Rodenburg RJ, Kϋsters B, Doorduin J, Beggs AH, Granzier H, Campbell K, Ma W, Irving T, Malfatti E, Romero NB, Bryson-Richardson RJ, van Engelen BG, Voermans NC, Ottenheijm CA. J Clin Invest. 2019 Oct 31. pii: 124000. doi: 10.1172/JCI124000. [Epub ahead of print]