Dissecting Pathogenetic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies in Drosophila Models of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1.
ABSTRACT: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), the most common cause of adult-onset muscular dystrophy, is autosomal dominant, multisystemic disease with characteristic symptoms including myotonia, heart defects, cataracts and testicular atrophy. DM1 disease is being successfully modelled in Drosophila allowing to identify and validate new pathogenic mechanisms and potential therapeutic strategies. Here we provide an overview of insights gained from fruit fly DM1 models, either: (i) fundamental with particular focus on newly identified gene deregulations and their link with DM1 symptoms; or (ii) applied via genetic modifiers and drug screens to identify promising therapeutic targets.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1 also known as Steinert disease) is a multisystemic disorder mainly characterized by myotonia, progressive muscle weakness and wasting, cognitive impairments, and cardiac defects. This autosomal dominant disease is caused by the expression of nuclear retained RNAs containing pathologic expanded CUG repeats that alter the function of RNA-binding proteins in a tissue-specific manner, leading ultimately to neuromuscular dysfunction and clinical symptoms. Although considerable knowledge has been gathered on myotonic dystrophy since its first description, the development of novel relevant disease models remains of high importance to investigate pathophysiologic mechanisms and to assess new therapeutic approaches. In addition to animal models, in vitro cell cultures provide a unique resource for both fundamental and translational research. This review discusses how cellular models broke ground to decipher molecular basis of DM1 and describes currently available cell models, ranging from exogenous expression of the CTG tracts to variable patients' derived cells.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common adult muscular dystrophy, characterized by autosomal dominant progressive myopathy, myotonia and multiorgan involvement. To date two distinct forms caused by similar mutations have been identified. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1, Steinert's disease) was described more than 100 years ago and is caused by a (CTG)n expansion in DMPK, while myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) was identified only 18 years ago and is caused by a (CCTG)n expansion in ZNF9/CNBP. When transcribed into CUG/CCUG-containing RNA, mutant transcripts aggregate as nuclear foci that sequester RNA-binding proteins, resulting in spliceopathy of downstream effector genes. Despite clinical and genetic similarities, DM1 and DM2 are distinct disorders requiring different diagnostic and management strategies. DM1 may present in four different forms: congenital, early childhood, adult onset and late-onset oligosymptomatic DM1. Congenital DM1 is the most severe form of DM characterized by extreme muscle weakness and mental retardation. In DM2 the clinical phenotype is extremely variable and there are no distinct clinical subgroups. Congenital and childhood-onset forms are not present in DM2 and, in contrast to DM1, myotonia may be absent even on EMG. Due to the lack of awareness of the disease among clinicians, DM2 remains largely underdiagnosed. The delay in receiving the correct diagnosis after onset of first symptoms is very long in DM: on average more than 5 years for DM1 and more than 14 years for DM2 patients. The long delay in the diagnosis of DM causes unnecessary problems for the patients to manage their lives and anguish with uncertainty of prognosis and treatment.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystemic disorder with predominant myotonia and muscular dystrophy which is caused by CTG-repeat expansions in the DMPK gene. These repeat expansions are transcribed and the resulting mRNA accumulates RNA-binding proteins involved in splicing, resulting in a general splicing defect. We observed nuclear envelope (NE) alterations in DM1 primary myoblasts. These included invaginations of the NE as well as an altered composition of the nuclear lamina. Specifically, we investigated NE transmembrane proteins (NETs) in DM1 primary myoblasts, staining to determine if their distribution was altered compared to controls and if this could contribute to these structural defects. We also tested the expression of these NETs in muscle and how localization changes in the DM1 primary myoblasts undergoing differentiation in vitro to myotubes. We found no changes in the localization of the tested NETs, but most tended to exhibit reduced expression with increasing DMPK-repeat length. Nonetheless, the DM1 patient expression range was within the expression range of the controls. Additionally, we found a down-regulation of the possible nesprin 1 giant isoform in DM1 primary myoblasts which could contribute to the increased NE invaginations. Thus, nesprin 1 may be an interesting target for further investigation in DM1 disease pathology.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is the most frequent muscular dystrophy worldwide with complex, multi-systemic, and progressively worsening symptoms. There is currently no treatment for this inherited disorder and research can be challenging due to the rarity and variability of the disease. The UK Myotonic Dystrophy Patient Registry is a patient self-enrolling online database collecting clinical and genetic information. For this cross-sectional "snapshot" analysis, 556 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of DM1 registered between May 2012 and July 2016 were included. An almost even distribution was seen between genders and a broad range of ages was present from 8 months to 78 years, with the largest proportion between 30 and 59 years. The two most frequent symptoms were fatigue and myotonia, reported by 79 and 78% of patients, respectively. The severity of myotonia correlated with the severity of fatigue as well as mobility impairment, and dysphagia occurred mostly in patients also reporting myotonia. Men reported significantly more frequent severe myotonia, whereas severe fatigue was more frequently reported by women. Cardiac abnormalities were diagnosed in 48% of patients and more than one-third of them needed a cardiac implant. Fifteen percent of patients used a non-invasive ventilation and cataracts were removed in 26% of patients, 65% of which before the age of 50 years. The registry's primary aim was to facilitate and accelerate clinical research. However, these data also allow us to formulate questions for hypothesis-driven research that may lead to improvements in care and treatment.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy (DM)--the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults, affecting 1/8000 individuals--is a dominantly inherited disorder with a peculiar and rare pattern of multisystemic clinical features affecting skeletal muscle, the heart, the eye, and the endocrine system. Two genetic loci have been associated with the DM phenotype: DM1, on chromosome 19, and DM2, on chromosome 3. In 1992, the mutation responsible for DM1 was identified as a CTG expansion located in the 3' untranslated region of the dystrophia myotonica-protein kinase gene (DMPK). How this untranslated CTG expansion causes myotonic dystrophy type 1(DM1) has been controversial. The recent discovery that myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is caused by an untranslated CCTG expansion, along with other discoveries on DM1 pathogenesis, indicate that the clinical features common to both diseases are caused by a gain-of-function RNA mechanism in which the CUG and CCUG repeats alter cellular function, including alternative splicing of various genes. We discuss the pathogenic mechanisms that have been proposed for the myotonic dystrophies, the clinical and molecular features of DM1 and DM2, and the characterization of murine and cell-culture models that have been generated to better understand these diseases.
Project description:The Myotonic Dystrophy Health Index (MDHI) is a disease-specific patient-reported outcome measure. Here, we examine the associations between the MDHI and other measures of disease burden in a cohort of individuals with myotonic dystrophy type-1 (DM1).We conducted a cross-sectional study of 70 patients with DM1. We examined the associations between MDHI total and subscale scores and scores from other clinical tests. Participants completed assessments of strength, myotonia, motor and respiratory function, ambulation, and body composition. Participants also provided blood samples, underwent physician evaluations, and completed other patient-reported outcome measures.MDHI total and subscale scores were strongly associated with muscle strength, myotonia, motor function, and other clinical measures.Patient-reported health status, as measured by the MDHI, is associated with alternative measures of clinical health. These results support the use of the MDHI as a valid tool to measure disease burden in DM1 patients.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal dominant hereditary and multisystemic disease, characterized by progressive distal muscle weakness and myotonia. Despite huge efforts, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying DM1 remain elusive. In this review, the metabolic alterations observed in patients with DM1 and their connection with lipin proteins are discussed. We start by briefly describing the epidemiology, the physiopathological and systemic features of DM1. The molecular mechanisms proposed for DM1 are explored and summarized. An overview of metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, and the summary of metabolic alterations observed in patients with DM1 are presented. Patients with DM1 present clinical evidence of metabolic alterations, namely increased levels of triacylglycerol and low-density lipoprotein, increased insulin and glucose levels, increased abdominal obesity, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein. These metabolic alterations may be associated with lipins, which are phosphatidate phosphatase enzymes that regulates the triacylglycerol levels, phospholipids, lipid signaling pathways, and are transcriptional co-activators. Furthermore, lipins are also important for autophagy, inflammasome activation and lipoproteins synthesis. We demonstrate the association of lipin with the metabolic alterations in patients with DM1, which supports further clinical studies and a proper exploration of lipin proteins as therapeutic targets for metabolic syndrome, which is important for controlling many diseases including DM1.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1) is a disabling multisystemic disease that predominantly affects skeletal muscle. It is caused by expanded CTG repeats in the 3'-UTR of the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) gene. RNA hairpins formed by elongated DMPK transcripts sequester RNA-binding proteins, leading to mis-splicing of numerous pre-mRNAs. Here, we have investigated whether DM1-associated muscle pathology is related to deregulation of central metabolic pathways, which may identify potential therapeutic targets for the disease. In a well-characterized mouse model for DM1 (HSALR mice), activation of AMPK signaling in muscle was impaired under starved conditions, while mTORC1 signaling remained active. In parallel, autophagic flux was perturbed in HSALR muscle and in cultured human DM1 myotubes. Pharmacological approaches targeting AMPK/mTORC1 signaling greatly ameliorated muscle function in HSALR mice. AICAR, an AMPK activator, led to a strong reduction of myotonia, which was accompanied by partial correction of misregulated alternative splicing. Rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor, improved muscle relaxation and increased muscle force in HSALR mice without affecting splicing. These findings highlight the involvement of AMPK/mTORC1 deregulation in DM1 muscle pathophysiology and may open potential avenues for the treatment of this disease.
Project description:Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a chronically debilitating, rare genetic disease that originates from an expansion of a noncoding CTG repeat in the dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK) gene. The expansion becomes pathogenic when DMPK transcripts contain 50 or more repetitions due to the sequestration of the muscleblind-like (MBNL) family of proteins. Depletion of MBNLs causes alterations in splicing patterns in transcripts that contribute to clinical symptoms such as myotonia and muscle weakness and wasting. We previously found that microRNA (miR)-23b directly regulates MBNL1 in DM1 myoblasts and mice and that antisense technology ("antagomiRs") blocking this microRNA (miRNA) boosts MBNL1 protein levels. Here, we show the therapeutic effect over time in response to administration of antagomiR-23b as a treatment in human skeletal actin long repeat (HSALR) mice. Subcutaneous administration of antagomiR-23b upregulated the expression of MBNL1 protein and rescued splicing alterations, grip strength, and myotonia in a dose-dependent manner with long-lasting effects. Additionally, the effects of the treatment on grip strength and myotonia were still slightly notable after 45 days. The pharmacokinetic data obtained provide further evidence that miR-23b could be a valid therapeutic target for DM1.
Project description:Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligonucleotide (PMO)-mediated control of the alternative splicing of the chloride channel 1 (CLCN1) gene is a promising treatment for myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) because the abnormal splicing of this gene causes myotonia in patients with DM1. In this study, we optimised a PMO sequence to correct Clcn1 alternative splicing and successfully remedied the myotonic phenotype of a DM1 mouse model, the HSALR mouse. To enhance the efficiency of delivery of PMO into HSALR mouse muscles, Bubble liposomes, which have been used as a gene delivery tool, were applied with ultrasound exposure. Effective delivery of PMO led to increased expression of Clcn1 protein in skeletal muscle and the amelioration of myotonia. Thus, PMO-mediated control of the alternative splicing of the Clcn1 gene must be important target of antisense therapy of DM1.