The Department of Biomedicine

BBB Seminar: Donald Gullberg

My sabbatical year: muscling in on integrins 

Donald Gullberg
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

During 2011-2012 I had the opportunity to spend one year in the laboratory of Prof. Dean Sheppard, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In my seminar I will talk about my sabbatical project "The role of α9 integrin in skeletal muscle".

Integrins are receptor for the extracellular matrix with diverse functions during development and in disease (1). Our current knowledge about the function of integrins has largely come through studies of induced, natural or genetically engineered mutations. With regards to skeletal muscle these studies have resulted in the findings that β1 integrins are needed for the fusion of myoblasts and sarcomere integrity in vivo (2) and revealed that α7β1 integrin is a central receptor of importance for muscle structural integrity (3).

Integrin α9 was identified in the Sheppard lab (4) and mice deficient in α9 have a phenotype related to a defective lymph system (5,6). α9β1 integrin is expressed in developing skeletal muscle, but its precise role in adult muscle is not known. Recent studies on a rare form of muscle disease have highlighted the potential role of α9 in muscle (7). In my talk I will give a historic review of the role of integrins in skeletal muscle and in more detail discuss novel experimental strategies used to elucidate the role of muscle integrins. 

Chair: Rolf K. Reed , Department of Biomedicine


  1. Barczyk, M., Carracedo, S., and Gullberg, D. (2010) Cell Tissue Res 339, 269-280
  2. Gullberg, D. (2003) Nature 424, 138-140
  3. Mayer, U., Saher, G., Fässler, R., Bornemann, A., Echtermeyer, F., von der Mark, H., Miosge, N., Pöschl, E., and von der Mark, K. (1997) Nat Genet 17, 318-323
  4. Palmer, E. L., Rüegg, C., Ferrando, R., Pytela, R., and Sheppard, D. (1993) J Cell Biol 123, 1289-1297
  5. Bazigou, E., Xie, S., Chen, C., Weston, A., Miura, N., Sorokin, L., Adams, R., Muro, A. F., Sheppard, D., and Makinen, T. (2009) Dev Cell 17, 175-186
  6. Huang, X. Z., Wu, J. F., Ferrando, R., Lee, J. H., Wang, Y. L., Farese, R. V., Jr., and Sheppard, D. (2000) Mol Cell Biol 20, 5208-5215
  7. Tétreault, M., Duquette, A., Thiffault, I., Bherer, C., Jarry, J., Loisel, L., Banwell, B., D'Anjou, G., Mathieu, J., Robitaille, Y., Vanasse, M., and Brais, B. (2006) Brain 129, 2077-2084