Mutations in the LMNA gene, encoding the nuclear envelope A-type lamins, are responsible for muscular dystrophies, the most severe form being the LMNA-related congenital muscular dystrophy (L-CMD), with severe defects in myonucleus integrity. The authors previously reported that L-CMD mutations compromise the ability of muscle stem cells to modulate the yes-associated protein (YAP), a pivotal factor in mechanotransduction and myogenesis.
In this article published in March 2020, a Franco-British team, involving researchers from the Institute of Myology, investigated the intrinsic mechanisms by which lamins influence YAP subcellular distribution, by analyzing different conditions affecting the balance between nuclear import and export of YAP. In contrast to wild type (WT) cells, LMNADK32 mutations failed to exclude YAP from the nucleus and to inactivate its transcriptional activity at high cell density, despite activation of the Hippo pathway. Inhibiting nuclear pore import abolished YAP nuclear accumulation in confluent mutant cells, thus showing persistent nuclear import of YAP at cell confluence. YAP deregulation was also present in congenital myopathy related to nesprin-1KASH mutation, but not in cells expressing the LMNAH222P mutation, the adult form of lamin-related muscle dystrophy with reduced nuclear deformability.
In conclusion, our data showed that L-CMD mutations increased YAP nuclear localization via an increased nuclear import and implicated YAP as a pathogenic contributor in muscle dystrophies caused by nuclear envelop defects.