Ablation of nonmuscle myosin (NM) II-A or NM II-B results in mouse embryonic lethality. Here, we report the results of ablating NM II-C as well as NM II-C/II-B together in mice. NM II-C ablated mice survive to adulthood and show no obvious defects compared with wild-type littermates. However, ablation of NM II-C in mice expressing only 12% of wild-type amounts of NM II-B results in a marked increase in cardiac myocyte hypertrophy compared with the NM II-B hypomorphic mice alone. In addition, these hearts develop interstitial fibrosis associated with diffuse N-cadherin and β-catenin localization at the intercalated discs, where both NM II-B and II-C are normally concentrated. When both NM II-C and II-B are ablated the B-C-/B-C- cardiac myocytes show major defects in karyokinesis. More than 90% of B-C-/B-C- myocytes demonstrate defects in chromatid segregation and mitotic spindle formation accompanied by increased stability of microtubules and abnormal formation of multiple centrosomes. This requirement for NM II in karyokinesis is further demonstrated in the HL-1 cell line derived from mouse atrial myocytes, by using small interfering RNA knockdown of NM II or treatment with the myosin inhibitor blebbistatin. Our study shows that NM II is involved in regulating cardiac myocyte karyokinesis by affecting microtubule dynamics.
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