De novo repeat interruptions are associated with reduced somatic instability and mild or absent clinical features in myotonic dystrophy type 1.
ABSTRACT: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystem disorder, caused by expansion of a CTG trinucleotide repeat in the 3'-untranslated region of the DMPK gene. The repeat expansion is somatically unstable and tends to increase in length with time, contributing to disease progression. In some individuals, the repeat array is interrupted by variant repeats such as CCG and CGG, stabilising the expansion and often leading to milder symptoms. We have characterised three families, each including one person with variant repeats that had arisen de novo on paternal transmission of the repeat expansion. Two individuals were identified for screening due to an unusual result in the laboratory diagnostic test, and the third due to exceptionally mild symptoms. The presence of variant repeats in all three expanded alleles was confirmed by restriction digestion of small pool PCR products, and allele structures were determined by PacBio sequencing. Each was different, but all contained CCG repeats close to the 3'-end of the repeat expansion. All other family members had inherited pure CTG repeats. The variant repeat-containing alleles were more stable in the blood than pure alleles of similar length, which may in part account for the mild symptoms observed in all three individuals. This emphasises the importance of somatic instability as a disease mechanism in DM1. Further, since patients with variant repeats may have unusually mild symptoms, identification of these individuals has important implications for genetic counselling and for patient stratification in DM1 clinical trials.
Project description:DM1 is an autosomal dominant multisystemic disease caused by an unstable CTG repeat expansion in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of the DMPK gene. The complex variant DMPK expanded the alleles containing CAG, CCG, CTC and/or GGC interruptions repetition sequences have been reported in 3-8% of DM1 patients. To date, very few information is available about the frequency and clinical consequences of pre-mutated DMPK variant allele. In this study, we describe a three-generation Italian family showing the segregation of an interrupted DMPK allele within the premutation range. TP-PCR with primers complementary to CCG repetitions and direct sequencing allow us to identify a hetero-triplet (CTG)6(CCGCTG)15(CTG)5 repeat structure. The haplotype analysis demonstrated that this variant allele is associated with the European founder DM1 haplotype. The pyrosequencing analysis of the CpG islands contained in the flanking regions of the CTG array, did not show the presence of a cis effect of the CCG interruptions on the methylation profile of the DM1 locus. The analysis of both meiotic transmissions, one maternal and one paternal, revealed the intrafamilial stability of the DM1 premutation among relatives. Our findings further support the hypothesis of a stabilizing effect of CCG interruptions on the mutational dynamics of the DM1 locus, also in intermediate DMPK alleles.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is a multisystemic autosomal dominant disorder caused by the expansion of (CTG) n triplets in the 3'UTR of the DMPK gene, on chromosome 19q13.3. In the last years, few DM1 patients with different patterns of CCG/CTC interruptions at the 3' end of the DMPK expanded tract have been described. However, the role of these interruptions in DM1 pathogenesis is still unclear. To study the frequency, stability and the structure of DMPK variant expanded alleles in the Italian population, we have re-evaluated 254 Italian DM1 patients using triplet-primed PCR (TP-PCR), at both the 3' and 5' ends of the CTG expansion. In addition, three DM1 families were also investigated in order to analyze the intergenerational stability of the interrupted DMPK alleles. Fourteen DM1 patients showed a TP-PCR electrophoretic profile indicating CCG/CTC interruptions within the CTG expansion. Interestingly, interruptions have been detected and, for the first time, sequenced at the 5' end of the CTG array. Analysis of five intergenerational transmissions revealed a substantial intrafamilial stability of the DM1 mutation among relatives. Our results support the hypothesis that CCG/CTC interruptions within the DMPK expanded alleles have a stabilizing effect on the mutational dynamics and can modulate the severity of symptoms in DM1 patients.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal-dominant multi-system disease caused by expanded CTG repeats in dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK). The expanded CTG repeats are unstable and can increase the length of the gene with age, which worsens the symptoms. In order to establish a human stem cell system suitable for the investigation of repeat instability, DM1 patient-derived iPSCs were generated and differentiated into three cell types commonly affected in DM1, namely cardiomyocytes, neurons and myocytes. Then we precisely analysed the CTG repeat lengths in these cells. Our DM1-iPSCs showed a gradual lengthening of CTG repeats with unchanged repeat distribution in all cell lines depending on the passage numbers of undifferentiated cells. However, the average CTG repeat length did not change significantly after differentiation into different somatic cell types. We also evaluated the chromatin accessibility in DM1-iPSCs using ATAC-seq. The chromatin status in DM1 cardiomyocytes was closed at the DMPK locus as well as at SIX5 and its promoter region, whereas it was open in control, suggesting that the epigenetic modifications may be related to the CTG repeat expansion in DM1. These findings may help clarify the role of repeat instability in the CTG repeat expansion in DM1.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by expansion of a CTG triplet repeat in the 3' untranslated region of the DMPK gene that encodes a serine-threonine kinase. Patients with larger repeats tend to have a more severe phenotype. Clinical laboratories require reference and quality control materials for DM1 diagnostic and carrier genetic testing. Well-characterized reference materials are not available. To address this need, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-based Genetic Testing Reference Material Coordination Program, in collaboration with members of the genetic testing community, the National Registry of Myotonic Dystrophy and Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Patients and Family Members, and the Coriell Cell Repositories, has established and characterized cell lines from patients with DM1 to create a reference material panel. The CTG repeats in genomic DNA samples from 10 DM1 cell lines were characterized in three clinical genetic testing laboratories using PCR and Southern blot analysis. DMPK alleles in the samples cover four of five DM1 clinical categories: normal (5 to 34 repeats), mild (50 to 100 repeats), classical (101 to 1000 repeats), and congenital (>1000 repeats). We did not identify or establish Coriell cell lines in the premutation range (35 to 49 repeats). These samples are publicly available for quality control, proficiency testing, test development, and research and should help improve the accuracy of DM1 testing.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by a CTG nucleotide repeat expansion within the 3' UTR of the Dystrophia Myotonica protein kinase gene. In this study, we explored therapeutic genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9 via targeted deletion of expanded CTG repeats and targeted insertion of polyadenylation signals in the 3' UTR upstream of the CTG repeats to eliminate toxic RNA CUG repeats. We found paired SpCas9 or SaCas9 guide RNA induced deletion of expanded CTG repeats. However, this approach incurred frequent inversion in both the mutant and normal alleles. In contrast, the insertion of polyadenylation signals in the 3' UTR upstream of the CTG repeats eliminated toxic RNA CUG repeats, which led to phenotype reversal in differentiated neural stem cells, forebrain neurons, cardiomyocytes, and skeletal muscle myofibers. We concluded that targeted insertion of polyadenylation signals in the 3' UTR is a viable approach to develop therapeutic genome editing for DM1.
Project description:R-loops have been described at immunoglobulin class switch sequences, prokaryotic and mitochondrial replication origins, and disease-associated (CAG)n and (GAA)n trinucleotide repeats. The determinants of trinucleotide R-loop formation are unclear. Trinucleotide repeat expansions cause diseases including DM1 (CTG)n, SCA1 (CAG)n, FRAXA (CGG)n, FRAXE (CCG)n and FRDA (GAA)n. Bidirectional convergent transcription across these disease repeats can occur. We find R-loops formed when CTG or CGG and their complementary strands CAG or CCG were transcribed; GAA transcription, but not TTC, yielded R-loops. R-loop formation was sensitive to DNA supercoiling, repeat length, insensitive to repeat interruptions, and formed by extension of RNA:DNA hybrids in the RNA polymerase. R-loops arose by transcription in one direction followed by transcription in the opposite direction, and during simultaneous convergent bidirectional transcription of the same repeat forming double R-loop structures. Since each transcribed disease repeat formed R-loops suggests they may have biological functions.
Project description:DM1 is caused by CTG repeat expansion in the 3'-UTR of the DMPK gene. DM1 patients have expansions of greater than 50 repeats and up to many thousands. The intention of the present study is the establishment of reliable and rapid polymerase chain reaction methodology in early screening of DM1 patients and their family members. PCR followed by TP-PCR was assessed for screening of 27 cases (from 26 families) and 75 family members and 300 control samples. All patients had CTG repeat expansion while forty seven (63%) and twenty eight (37%), out of seventy five family members were heterozygous and homozygous respectively. Similarly, two hundred thirty (76.77%) and seventy (23.33%), out of three hundred control subjects were heterozygous and homozygous respectively and the number of repeats varied from 5 to 35. Thirteen complete family screenings were done. Thus, TP-PCR is a reliable and rapid molecular technique for the detection of CTG repeat expansion in DM1.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder caused by expansion of a germline and somatically unstable CTG repeat in the DMPK gene. Previously, CTG repeat length at birth has been correlated to patient age at symptom onset. Attempts to correlate CTG repeat length with progressive DM1 phenotypes, such as muscle power, have proven difficult. To better correlate genotype with progressive phenotypes, we have measured CTG repeat tract length and screened for interrupting variant repeats in 192 study participants from a well-characterized Canadian cohort. We have assessed genotype-phenotype correlations with nine progressive measures of skeletal muscle power and respiratory function. We have built statistical models that include confounding factors such as sex, age, height and weight to further explain variation in muscle power. Our analysis reveals a strong correlation between DM1 genotype and respiratory function and skeletal muscle power, as part of a complex model that includes additional modulators such as sex, age, height, weight and the presence or absence of interrupting variant repeats. Distal skeletal muscle measurements, such as hand pinch and grip strength, show the strongest correlation with disease genotype. Detailed analysis of CTG repeat length, and incorporation of confounding factors, greatly improves the predictive ability of these models. They reveal a greater genetic influence on individual progressive phenotypes than on age at symptom onset and for clinical trials will help optimize stratification and explain patient variability. They will also help practitioners prioritize assessment of the muscular power measurements that correlate best with disease severity.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by expansion of a CTG repeat in the gene DMPK. The expansion is highly unstable in somatic cells, a feature that may contribute to disease progression. The RNA expressed from the mutant allele exerts a toxic gain of function, due to the presence of an expanded CUG repeat (CUG(exp)). This RNA dominant mechanism is amenable to therapeutic intervention with antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). For example, CAG-repeat ASOs that bind CUG(exp) RNA are beneficial in DM1 models by altering the protein interactions or metabolism of the toxic RNA. Because CUG(exp) RNA has been shown to aggravate instability of expanded CTG repeats, we studied whether CAG-repeat ASOs may also affect this aspect of DM1. In human cells the instability of (CTG)(800) was suppressed by addition of CAG-repeat ASOs to the culture media. In mice that carry a DMPK transgene the somatic instability of (CTG)(800) was suppressed by direct injection of CAG-repeat ASOs into muscle tissue. These results raise the possibility that early intervention with ASOs to reduce RNA or protein toxicity may have the additional benefit of stabilizing CTG:CAG repeats at subpathogenic lengths.
Project description:An expanded CTG-repeat in the 3' UTR of the DMPK gene is responsible for myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1). Somatic and intergenerational instability cause the disease to become more severe during life and in subsequent generations. Evidence is accumulating that trinucleotide repeat instability and disease progression involve aberrant chromatin dynamics. We explored the chromatin environment in relation to expanded CTG-repeat tracts in hearts from transgenic mice carrying the DM1 locus with different repeat lengths. Using bisulfite sequencing we detected abundant CpG methylation in the regions flanking the expanded CTG-repeat. CpG methylation was postulated to affect CTCF binding but we found that CTCF binding is not affected by CTG-repeat length in our transgenic mice. We detected significantly decreased DMPK sense and SIX5 transcript expression levels in mice with expanded CTG-repeats. Expression of the DM1 antisense transcript was barely affected by CTG-repeat expansion. In line with altered gene expression, ChIP studies revealed a locally less active chromatin conformation around the expanded CTG-repeat, namely, decreased enrichment of active histone mark H3K9/14Ac and increased H3K9Me3 enrichment (repressive chromatin mark). We also observed binding of PCNA around the repeats, a candidate that could launch chromatin remodelling cascades at expanded repeats, ultimately affecting gene transcription and repeat instability.