Forced expression of dystrophin deletion constructs reveals structure-function correlations.
ABSTRACT: Dystrophin plays an important role in skeletal muscle by linking the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. The amino terminus of dystrophin binds to actin and possibly other components of the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton, while the carboxy terminus associates with a group of integral and peripheral membrane proteins and glycoproteins that are collectively known as the dystrophin-associated protein (DAP) complex. We have generated transgenic/mdx mice expressing "full-length" dystrophin constructs, but with consecutive deletions within the COOH-terminal domains. These mice have enabled analysis of the interaction between dystrophin and members of the DAP complex and the effects that perturbing these associations have on the dystrophic process. Deletions within the cysteine-rich region disrupt the interaction between dystrophin and the DAP complex, leading to a severe dystrophic pathology. These deletions remove the beta-dystroglycan-binding site, which leads to a parallel loss of both beta-dystroglycan and the sarcoglycan complex from the sarcolemma. In contrast, deletion of the alternatively spliced domain and the extreme COOH terminus has no apparent effect on the function of dystrophin when expressed at normal levels. The proteins resulting from these latter two deletions supported formation of a completely normal DAP complex, and their expression was associated with normal muscle morphology in mdx mice. These data indicate that the cysteine-rich domain is critical for functional activity, presumably by mediating a direct interaction with beta-dystroglycan. However, the remainder of the COOH terminus is not required for assembly of the DAP complex.
Project description:Dystrophin is a multidomain protein that links the actin cytoskeleton to laminin in the extracellular matrix through the dystrophin associated protein (DAP) complex. The COOH-terminal domain of dystrophin binds to two components of the DAP complex, syntrophin and dystrobrevin. To understand the role of syntrophin and dystrobrevin, we previously generated a series of transgenic mouse lines expressing dystrophins with deletions throughout the COOH-terminal domain. Each of these mice had normal muscle function and displayed normal localization of syntrophin and dystrobrevin. Since syntrophin and dystrobrevin bind to each other as well as to dystrophin, we have now generated a transgenic mouse deleted for the entire dystrophin COOH-terminal domain. Unexpectedly, this truncated dystrophin supported normal muscle function and assembly of the DAP complex. These results demonstrate that syntrophin and dystrobrevin functionally associate with the DAP complex in the absence of a direct link to dystrophin. We also observed that the DAP complexes in these different transgenic mouse strains were not identical. Instead, the DAP complexes contained varying ratios of syntrophin and dystrobrevin isoforms. These results suggest that alternative splicing of the dystrophin gene, which naturally generates COOH-terminal deletions in dystrophin, may function to regulate the isoform composition of the DAP complex.
Project description:Loss of dystrophin protein due to mutations in the DMD gene causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Dystrophin loss also leads to the loss of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC) from the sarcolemma which contributes to the dystrophic phenotype. Tyrosine phosphorylation of dystroglycan has been identified as a possible signal to promote the proteasomal degradation of the DGC. In order to test the role of tyrosine phosphorylation of dystroglycan in the aetiology of DMD, we generated a knock-in mouse with a phenylalanine substitution at a key tyrosine phosphorylation site in dystroglycan, Y890. Dystroglycan knock-in mice (Dag1(Y890F/Y890F)) had no overt phenotype. In order to examine the consequence of blocking dystroglycan phosphorylation on the aetiology of dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy, the Y890F mice were crossed with mdx mice an established model of muscular dystrophy. Dag1(Y890F/Y890F)/mdx mice showed a significant improvement in several parameters of muscle pathophysiology associated with muscular dystrophy, including a reduction in centrally nucleated fibres, less Evans blue dye infiltration and lower serum creatine kinase levels. With the exception of dystrophin, other DGC components were restored to the sarcolemma including ?-sarcoglycan, ?-/?-dystroglycan and sarcospan. Furthermore, Dag1(Y890F/Y890F)/mdx showed a significant resistance to muscle damage and force loss following repeated eccentric contractions when compared with mdx mice. While the Y890F substitution may prevent dystroglycan from proteasomal degradation, an increase in sarcolemmal plectin appeared to confer protection on Dag1(Y890F/Y890F)/mdx mouse muscle. This new model confirms dystroglycan phosphorylation as an important pathway in the aetiology of DMD and provides novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Utrophin gene is transcribed in a large mRNA of 13 kb that codes for a protein of 395 kDa. It shows amino acid identity with dystrophin of up to 73% and is widely expressed in muscle and non-muscle tissues. Up71 is a short utrophin product of the utrophin gene with the same cysteine-rich and C-terminal domains as full-length utrophin (Up395). Using RT-PCR, Western blots analysis, we demonstrated that Up71 is overexpressed in the mdx diaphragm, the most pathological muscle in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, compared to wild-type C57BL/10 or other mdx skeletal muscles. Subsequently, we demonstrated that this isoform displayed an increased expression level up to 12 months, whereas full-length utrophin (Up395) decreased. In addition, beta-dystroglycan, the transmembrane glycoprotein that anchors the cytoplasmic C-terminal domain of utrophin, showed similar increase expression in mdx diaphragm, as opposed to other components of the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC) such as alpha-dystrobrevin1 and alpha-sarcoglycan. We demonstrated that Up71 and beta-dystroglycan were progressively accumulated along the extrasynaptic region of regenerating clusters in mdx diaphragm. Our data provide novel functional insights into the pathological role of the Up71 isoform in dystrophinopathies.
Project description:In skeletal muscle, the cytolinker plectin is prominently expressed at Z-disks and the sarcolemma. Alternative splicing of plectin transcripts gives rise to more than eight protein isoforms differing only in small N-terminal sequences (5-180 residues), four of which (plectins 1, 1b, 1d, and 1f) are found at substantial levels in muscle tissue. Using plectin isoform-specific antibodies and isoform expression constructs, we show the differential regulation of plectin isoforms during myotube differentiation and their localization to different compartments of muscle fibers, identifying plectins 1 and 1f as sarcolemma-associated isoforms, whereas plectin 1d localizes exclusively to Z-disks. Coimmunoprecipitation and in vitro binding assays using recombinant protein fragments revealed the direct binding of plectin to dystrophin (utrophin) and beta-dystroglycan, the key components of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex. We propose a model in which plectin acts as a universal mediator of desmin intermediate filament anchorage at the sarcolemma and Z-disks. It also explains the plectin phenotype observed in dystrophic skeletal muscle of mdx mice and Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.
Project description:Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe muscle wasting disease arising from defects in the dystrophin gene, typically nonsense or frameshift mutations, that preclude the synthesis of a functional protein. A milder, allelic version of the disease, Becker muscular dystrophy, generally arises from in-frame deletions that allow synthesis of a shorter but still semifunctional protein. Therapies to introduce functional dystrophin into dystrophic tissue through either cell or gene replacement have not been successful to date. We report an alternative approach where 2'-O-methyl antisense oligoribonucleotides have been used to modify processing of the dystrophin pre-mRNA in the mdx mouse model of DMD. By targeting 2'-O-methyl antisense oligoribonucleotides to block motifs involved in normal dystrophin pre-mRNA splicing, we induced excision of exon 23, and the mdx nonsense mutation, without disrupting the reading frame. Exon 23 skipping was first optimized in vitro in transfected H-2K(b)-tsA58 mdx myoblasts and then induced in vivo. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated the synthesis and correct subsarcolemmal localization of dystrophin and gamma-sarcoglycan in the mdx mouse after intramuscular delivery of antisense oligoribonucleotide:liposome complexes. This approach should reduce the severity of DMD by allowing a dystrophic gene transcript to be modified, such that it can be translated into a Becker-dystrophin-like protein.
Project description:Mutations in the genes coding for either dystrophin or dysferlin cause distinct forms of muscular dystrophy. Dystrophin links the cytoskeleton to the sarcolemma through direct interaction with ?-dystroglycan. This link extends to the extracellular matrix by ?-dystroglycan's interaction with ?-dystroglycan, which binds extracellular matrix proteins, including laminin ?2, agrin and perlecan, that possess laminin globular domains. The absence of dystrophin disrupts this link, leading to compromised muscle sarcolemmal integrity. Dysferlin, on the other hand, plays an important role in the Ca2+-dependent membrane repair of damaged sarcolemma in skeletal muscle. Because dysferlin and dystrophin play different roles in maintaining muscle cell integrity, we hypothesized that disrupting sarcolemmal integrity with dystrophin deficiency would exacerbate the pathology in dysferlin-null mice and allow further characterization of the role of dysferlin in skeletal muscle.To test our hypothesis, we generated dystrophin/dysferlin double-knockout (DKO) mice by breeding mdx mice with dysferlin-null mice and analyzed the effects of a combined deficiency of dysferlin and dystrophin on muscle pathology and sarcolemmal integrity.The DKO mice exhibited more severe muscle pathology than either mdx mice or dysferlin-null mice, and, importantly, the onset of the muscle pathology occurred much earlier than it did in dysferlin-deficient mice. The DKO mice showed muscle pathology of various skeletal muscles, including the mandible muscles, as well as a greater number of regenerating muscle fibers, higher serum creatine kinase levels and elevated Evans blue dye uptake into skeletal muscles. Lengthening contractions caused similar force deficits, regardless of dysferlin expression. However, the rate of force recovery within 45 minutes following lengthening contractions was hampered in DKO muscles compared to mdx muscles or dysferlin-null muscles, suggesting that dysferlin is required for the initial recovery from lengthening contraction-induced muscle injury of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex-compromised muscles.The results of our study suggest that dysferlin-mediated membrane repair helps to limit the dystrophic changes in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle. Dystrophin deficiency unmasks the function of dysferlin in membrane repair during lengthening contractions. Dystrophin/dysferlin-deficient mice provide a very useful model with which to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies designed to treat dysferlin deficiency.
Project description:The dystroglycan complex contains the transmembrane protein ?-dystroglycan and its interacting extracellular mucin-like protein ?-dystroglycan. In skeletal muscle fibers, the dystroglycan complex plays an important structural role by linking the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin to laminin in the extracellular matrix. Mutations that affect any of the proteins involved in this structural axis lead to myofiber degeneration and are associated with muscular dystrophies and congenital myopathies. Because loss of dystrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) leads to an almost complete loss of dystroglycan complexes at the myofiber membrane, it is generally assumed that the vast majority of dystroglycan complexes within skeletal muscle fibers interact with dystrophin. The residual dystroglycan present in dystrophin-deficient muscle is thought to be preserved by utrophin, a structural homolog of dystrophin that is up-regulated in dystrophic muscles. However, we found that dystroglycan complexes are still present at the myofiber membrane in the absence of both dystrophin and utrophin. Our data show that only a minority of dystroglycan complexes associate with dystrophin in wild type muscle. Furthermore, we provide evidence for at least three separate pools of dystroglycan complexes within myofibers that differ in composition and are differentially affected by loss of dystrophin. Our findings indicate a more complex role of dystroglycan in muscle than currently recognized and may help explain differences in disease pathology and severity among myopathies linked to mutations in DAPC members.
Project description:Dystroglycan is a major cell surface glycoprotein receptor for the extracellular matrix in skeletal muscle. Defects in dystroglycan glycosylation cause muscular dystrophy and alterations in dystroglycan glycosylation can impact extracellular matrix binding. Here we describe an immunoprecipitation technique that allows isolation of beta dystroglycan with members of the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC) from detergent-solubilized skeletal muscle. Immunoprecipitation, coupled with shotgun proteomics, has allowed us to identify new dystroglycan-associated proteins and define changed associations that occur within the DAPC in dystrophic skeletal muscles. In addition, we describe changes that result from overexpression of Galgt2, a normally synaptic muscle glycosyltransferase that can modify alpha dystroglycan and inhibit the development of muscular dystrophy when it is overexpressed. These studies identify new dystroglycan-associated proteins that may participate in dystroglycan's roles, both positive and negative, in muscular dystrophy.
Project description:Nitric oxide (NO) is a key regulator of skeletal muscle function and metabolism, including vasoregulation, mitochondrial function, glucose uptake, fatigue and excitation-contraction coupling. The main generator of NO in skeletal muscle is the muscle-specific form of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS?) produced by the NOS1 gene. Skeletal muscle nNOS? is predominantly localized at the sarcolemma by interaction with the dystrophin protein complex (DPC). In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), loss of dystrophin leads to the mislocalization of nNOS? from the sarcolemma to the cytosol. This perturbation has been shown to impair contractile function and cause muscle fatigue in dystrophic (mdx) mice. Here, we investigated the effect of restoring sarcolemmal nNOS? on muscle contractile function in mdx mice. To achieve this, we designed a modified form of nNOS? (NOS-M) that is targeted to the sarcolemma by palmitoylation, even in the absence of the DPC. When expressed specifically in mdx skeletal muscle, NOS-M significantly attenuates force loss owing to damaging eccentric contractions and repetitive isometric contractions (fatigue), while also improving force recovery after fatigue. Expression of unmodified nNOS? at similar levels does not lead to sarcolemmal association and fails to improve muscle function. Aside from the benefits of sarcolemmal-localized NO production, NOS-M also increased the surface membrane levels of utrophin and other DPC proteins, including ?-dystroglycan, ?-syntrophin and ?-dystrobrevin in mdx muscle. These results suggest that the expression of NOS-M in skeletal muscle may be therapeutically beneficial in DMD and other muscle diseases characterized by the loss of nNOS? from the sarcolemma.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a fatal muscle-wasting disorder caused by genetic loss of dystrophin protein. Extracellular microRNAs (ex-miRNAs) are putative, minimally invasive biomarkers of DMD. Specific ex-miRNAs (e.g. miR-1, miR-133a, miR-206, and miR-483) are highly up-regulated in the serum of DMD patients and dystrophic animal models and are restored to wild-type levels following exon skipping-mediated dystrophin rescue in mdx mice. As such, ex-miRNAs are promising pharmacodynamic biomarkers of exon skipping efficacy. Here, we aimed to determine the degree to which ex-miRNA levels reflect the underlying level of dystrophin protein expression in dystrophic muscle. METHODS:Candidate ex-miRNA biomarker levels were investigated in mdx mice in which dystrophin was restored with peptide-PMO (PPMO) exon skipping conjugates and in mdx-Xist?hs mice that express variable amounts of dystrophin from birth as a consequence of skewed X-chromosome inactivation. miRNA profiling was performed in mdx-Xist?hs mice using the FirePlex methodology and key results validated by small RNA TaqMan RT-qPCR. The muscles from each animal model were further characterized by dystrophin western blot and immunofluorescence staining. RESULTS:The restoration of ex-myomiR abundance observed following PPMO treatment was not recapitulated in the high dystrophin-expressing mdx-Xist?hs group, despite these animals expressing similar amounts of total dystrophin protein (~37% of wild-type levels). Instead, ex-miRNAs were present at high levels in mdx-Xist?hs mice regardless of dystrophin expression. PPMO-treated muscles exhibited a uniform pattern of dystrophin localization and were devoid of regenerating fibres, whereas mdx-Xist?hs muscles showed non-homogeneous dystrophin staining and sporadic regenerating foci. CONCLUSIONS:Uniform dystrophin expression is required to prevent ex-miRNA release, stabilize myofiber turnover, and attenuate pathology in dystrophic muscle.