Recently, a muscular disorder defined as "congenital pseudomyotonia" was described in Chianina cattle, one of the most important Italian cattle breeds for quality meat and leather. The clinical phenotype of this disease is characterized by an exercise-induced muscle contracture that prevents animals from performing muscular activities. On the basis of clinical symptoms, Chianina pseudomyotonia appeared related to human Brody's disease, a rare inherited disorder of skeletal muscle function that results from a sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA1) deficiency caused by a defect in the ATP2A1 gene that encodes SERCA1. SERCA1 is involved in transporting calcium from the cytosol to the lumen of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Recently, we identified the genetic defect underlying Chianina cattle pseudomyotonia. A missense mutation in exon 6 of the ATP2A1 gene, leading to an R164H substitution in the SERCA1 protein, was found. In this study, we provide biochemical evidence for a selective deficiency in SERCA1 protein levels in sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes from affected muscles, although mRNA levels are unaffected. The reduction of SERCA1 levels accounts for the reduced Ca 2+-ATPase activity without any significant change in Ca 2+-dependency. The loss of SERCA1 is not compensated for by the expression of the SERCA2 isoform. We believe that Chianina cattle pseudomyotonia might, therefore, be the true counterpart of human Brody's disease, and that bovine species might be used as a suitable animal model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine