Authors: Jonathan R Volpatti, Yukari Endo, Jessica Knox, Linda Groom, Stephanie Brennan, Ramil Noche, William J Zuercher, Peter Roy, Robert T Dirksen, James J Dowling
Ryanodine receptor type I-related myopathies (RYR1-RMs) are a common group of childhood muscle diseases associated with severe disabilities and early mortality for which there are no available treatments. The goal of this study is to identify new therapeutic targets for RYR1RMs. To accomplish this, we developed a discovery pipeline using nematode, zebrafish, and mammalian cell models. We first performed large-scale drug screens in C. elegans which uncovered 74 hits. Targeted testing in zebrafish yielded positive results for two p38 inhibitors. Using mouse myotubes, we found that either pharmacological inhibition or siRNA silencing of p38 impaired caffeine-induced Ca2+ release from wild type cells while promoting intracellular Ca2+ release in Ryr1 knockout cells. Lastly, we demonstrated that p38 inhibition blunts the aberrant temperature-dependent increase in resting Ca2+ in myotubes from an RYR1-RM mouse model. This unique platform for RYR1-RM therapy development is potentially applicable to a broad range of neuromuscular disorders.