Myosin heavy chain is not selectively decreased in murine cancer cachexia.
Cachexia is a severe muscle-wasting syndrome associated with several chronic diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Muscle mass loss significantly decreases prognosis and survival. The mechanisms of muscle atrophy and the specific proteins targeted for degradation have been intensely studied and are potential therapeutic targets. Published reports that myosin heavy chain (MyHC), the most abundant protein by mass in skeletal muscle, is selectively targeted for degradation in cancer cachexia remain controversial. Here we show that the results of previous studies showing a selective decrease in MyHC are likely an artifact resulting from muscle lysis methods which do not solubilize myosin out of myofibrils. We show that MyHC decreases in parallel with other myofibrillar proteins in cachectic skeletal muscle, which has mechanistic and therapeutic implications. These findings should lead to mechanistic insight into the stoichiometry of sarcomeric disassembly and degradation during cancer cachexia.