Abstract Background Tetraspanins are a family of proteins known to assemble protein complexes at the cell membrane. They are thought to play diverse cellular functions in tissues by modifying protein-binding partners, thus bringing complexity and diversity in their regulatory networks. Previously, we identified the tetraspanin KAI/CD82 as a prospective marker for human muscle stem cells. CD82 expression appeared decreased in human Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) muscle, suggesting a functional link to muscular dystrophy, yet whether this decrease is a consequence of dystrophic pathology or a compensatory mechanism in an attempt to rescue muscle from degeneration is currently unknown. Methods We studied the consequences of loss of CD82 expression in normal and dystrophic skeletal muscle and examined the dysregulation of downstream functions in mice aged up to 1 year. Results Expression of CD82 is important to sustain satellite cell activation, as in its absence there is decreased cell proliferation and less efficient repair of injured muscle. Loss of CD82 in dystrophic muscle leads to a worsened phenotype compared to control dystrophic mice, with decreased pulmonary function, myofiber size, and muscle strength. Mechanistically, decreased myofiber size in CD82−/− dystrophic mice is not due to altered PTEN/AKT signaling, although increased phosphorylation of mTOR at Ser2448 was observed. Conclusion Basal CD82 expression is important to dystrophic muscle, as its loss leads to significantly weakened myofibers and impaired muscle function, accompanied by decreased satellite cell activity that is unable to protect and repair myofiber damage.
|Date made available||2020|