Distinct myofibre domains of the human myotendinous junction revealed by single-nucleus RNA sequencing

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The myotendinous junction (MTJ) is a specialized domain of the multinucleated myofibre, faced with the challenge of maintaining robust cell-matrix contact with the tendon under high mechanical stress and strain. Here, we profiled 24,161 nuclei in semitendinosus muscle-tendon samples from 3 healthy males by single nucleus RNA-sequencing (snRNA-seq), alongside spatial transcriptomics, to gain insight into the genes characterizing this specialization in humans. We identified a cluster of MTJ myonuclei, represented by 47 enriched transcripts, of which the presence of ABI3BP, ABLIM1, ADAMTSL1, BICD1, CPM, FHOD3, FRAS1 and FREM2 was confirmed at the MTJ at the protein level by immunofluorescence. Four distinct subclusters of MTJ myonuclei were apparent and segregated into two COL22A1-expressing subclusters and two lacking COL22A1 but with a clear fibre type profile expressing MYH7 or MYH1/2. Our findings reveal distinct myonuclei profiles of the human MTJ, a weak link in the musculoskeletal system, which is selectively affected in pathological conditions, from muscle strains to muscular dystrophies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs260913
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number8
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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