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      Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscular dystrophy

      , 1 , 2 , , 1 , 2

      The Journal of Cell Biology

      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          The muscular dystrophies are a group of heterogeneous genetic diseases characterized by progressive degeneration and weakness of skeletal muscle. Since the discovery of the first muscular dystrophy gene encoding dystrophin, a large number of genes have been identified that are involved in various muscle-wasting and neuromuscular disorders. Human genetic studies complemented by animal model systems have substantially contributed to our understanding of the molecular pathomechanisms underlying muscle degeneration. Moreover, these studies have revealed distinct molecular and cellular mechanisms that link genetic mutations to diverse muscle wasting phenotypes.

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          Most cited references 82

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          Dystrophin protects the sarcolemma from stresses developed during muscle contraction.

          The protein dystrophin, normally found on the cytoplasmic surface of skeletal muscle cell membranes, is absent in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy as well as mdx (X-linked muscular dystrophy) mice. Although its primary structure has been determined, the precise functional role of dystrophin remains the subject of speculation. In the present study, we demonstrate that dystrophin-deficient muscle fibers of the mdx mouse exhibit an increased susceptibility to contraction-induced sarcolemmal rupture. The level of sarcolemmal damage is directly correlated with the magnitude of mechanical stress placed upon the membrane during contraction rather than the number of activations of the muscle. These findings strongly support the proposition that the primary function of dystrophin is to provide mechanical reinforcement to the sarcolemma and thereby protect it from the membrane stresses developed during muscle contraction. Furthermore, the methodology used in this study should prove useful in assessing the efficacy of dystrophin gene therapy in the mdx mouse.
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            Molecular basis of myotonic dystrophy: expansion of a trinucleotide (CTG) repeat at the 3' end of a transcript encoding a protein kinase family member.

            Using positional cloning strategies, we have identified a CTG triplet repeat that undergoes expansion in myotonic dystrophy patients. This sequence is highly variable in the normal population. PCR analysis of the interval containing this repeat indicates that unaffected individuals have been 5 and 27 copies. Myotonic dystrophy patients who are minimally affected have at least 50 repeats, while more severely affected patients have expansion of the repeat containing segment up to several kilobase pairs. The CTG repeat is transcribed and is located in the 3' untranslated region of an mRNA that is expressed in tissues affected by myotonic dystrophy. This mRNA encodes a polypeptide that is a member of the protein kinase family.
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              Myotonic dystrophy type 2 caused by a CCTG expansion in intron 1 of ZNF9.

               C Liquori (2001)
              Myotonic dystrophy (DM), the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults, can be caused by a mutation on either chromosome 19q13 (DM1) or 3q21 (DM2/PROMM). DM1 is caused by a CTG expansion in the 3' untranslated region of the dystrophia myotonica-protein kinase gene (DMPK). Several mechanisms have been invoked to explain how this mutation, which does not alter the protein-coding portion of a gene, causes the specific constellation of clinical features characteristic of DM. We now report that DM2 is caused by a CCTG expansion (mean approximately 5000 repeats) located in intron 1 of the zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene. Parallels between these mutations indicate that microsatellite expansions in RNA can be pathogenic and cause the multisystemic features of DM1 and DM2.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                J. Cell Biol
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                13 May 2013
                : 201
                : 4
                : 499-510
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Program in Genomics, Division of Genetics, Boston Children’s Hospital , and [2 ]Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
                Author notes
                Correspondence to Fedik Rahimov: frahimov@ 123456enders.tch.harvard.edu ; or Louis M. Kunkel: kunkel@ 123456enders.tch.harvard.edu
                Article
                201212142
                10.1083/jcb.201212142
                3653356
                23671309
                © 2013 Rahimov and Kunkel

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

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