Enhanced expression of recombinant dystrophin following intramuscular injection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-based mini-chromosome vectors in mdx mice. (1/886)

Gene transfer by direct intramuscular injection of naked plasmid DNA has been shown to be a safe, simple but relatively inefficient method for gene delivery in vivo. Eukaryotic plasmid expression vectors incorporating the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) origin of replication (oriP) and EBNA1 gene have been shown to act as autonomous episomally replicating gene transfer vectors which additionally provide nuclear matrix retention functions. Prolonged expression of a LacZ reporter gene and recombinant human dystrophin was shown using EBV-based plasmid vectors transfected into C2C12 mouse myoblast and myotube cultures. Intramuscular injection of EBV-based dystrophin expression plasmids into nude/mdx mice resulted in significant enhancement in the number of muscle fibres expressing recombinant dystrophin compared with a conventional vector. This effect was observed for over 10 weeks after a single administration. These results indicate the potential advantage of EBV-based expression vectors for focal plasmid-mediated gene augmentation therapy in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and a range of other gene therapeutic applications.  (+info)

Local and distant transfection of mdx muscle fibers with dystrophin and LacZ genes delivered in vivo by synthetic microspheres. (2/886)

Patterns of dystrophin and beta-galactosidase expression were examined in mdx mice after i.m. injections of synthetic microspheres (MF-2) loaded with full-length (pHSADy) or mini-dystrophin gene (pSG5dys) cDNA plasmid constructs or with LacZ marker gene (pCMV-LacZ). A single injection of 25 microg pHSADy into quadriceps femoris muscle resulted in 6.8% of dystrophin positive myofibers (DPM) in a given muscle; 8.4% of DPM in glutaeus muscle and 4.3% of DPM in quadriceps femoris muscle of contralateral limb on day 21 after exposure compared with only 0.6% DPM in intact (non-injected) mdx mice. A high proportion of DPM (17.6% and 10.8%, respectively) was registered in both injected and contralateral muscles after mini- gene cDNA administration. MF-2/dystrophin cDNA particles were detected by FISH analysis in about 60-70% of myofiber nuclei in muscles of injected and contralateral limbs 7 days after application. The presence of human dystrophin cDNA and its products in all skeletal muscles and in different internal organs was proven by PCR and RT-PCR analysis. Patches of beta-galactosidase expression were abundant in injected muscle, and frequent in the contralateral and other skeletal muscles as well as in diaphragm, heart and lungs. High levels of dystrophin cDNA expression, and an efficient distant transfection effect with preferential intranuclei inclusion of MF-2 vehicle, are very encouraging for the development of a new constructive strategy in gene therapy trials of DMD.  (+info)

Genetic polymorphism in muscle biopsies of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy patients. (3/886)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), with an incidence of one in 3500 male new borns, and its milder variant, Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), are allelic X-linked recessive disorders, caused by mutations in the gene coding for dystrophin, a 427 kD cytoskeleton protein. There are no available molecular markers to differentiate these two. The purpose of this study was to study genetic polymorphism in muscular dystrophy and explore its potential in discriminating these two allelic forms of the disease. The results revealed unambiguously the presence of three transcripts : 598bp, 849bp and 1583bp long which are selectively expressed in the muscles afflicted with muscular dystrophy as compared to the normal muscle. 1583bp gene transcript was conspicuously present in the muscle tissues of both DMD and BMD patients whereas 598bp and 849bp long transcripts were exclusively present in DMD but not in BMD patients or normal human subjects. These gene transcripts had no sequence homology with dystrophin gene and these were also present in the families belonging to DMD and BMD patients. These results point to the fact that based upon the selective expression of these three gene transcripts, one could not only differentiate between DMD and BMD diseases at the molecular level, but also between normal and dystrophic muscle. Further, these findings also reveal that apart from dystrophin gene, these gene transcripts may also be responsible for the differential progression of DMD/BMD phenotype.  (+info)

Phosphorylation of dystrophin and alpha-syntrophin by Ca(2+)-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II. (4/886)

A Ca(2+)-calmodulin dependent protein kinase activity (DGC-PK) was previously shown to associate with skeletal muscle dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC) preparations, and phosphorylate dystrophin and a protein with the same electrophoretic mobility as alpha-syntrophin (R. Madhavan, H.W. Jarrett, Biochemistry 33 (1994) 5797-5804). Here, we show that DGC-PK and Ca(2+)-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II) phosphorylate a common site (RSDS(3616)) within the dystrophin C terminal domain that fits the consensus CaM kinase II phosphorylation motif (R/KXXS/T). Furthermore, both kinase activities phosphorylate exactly the same three fusion proteins (dystrophin fusions DysS7 and DysS9, and the syntrophin fusion) out of a panel of eight fusion proteins (representing nearly 100% of syntrophin and 80% of dystrophin protein sequences), demonstrating that DGC-PK and CaM kinase II have the same substrate specificity. Complementing these results, anti-CaM kinase II antibodies specifically stained purified DGC immobilized on nitrocellulose membranes. Renaturation of electrophoretically resolved DGC proteins revealed a single protein kinase band (M(r) approximately 60,000) that, like CaM kinase II, underwent Ca(2+)-calmodulin dependent autophosphorylation. Based on these observations, we conclude DGC-PK represents a dystrophin-/syntrophin-phosphorylating skeletal muscle isoform of CaM kinase II. We also show that phosphorylation of the dystrophin C terminal domain sequences inhibits their syntrophin binding in vitro, suggesting a regulatory role for phosphorylation.  (+info)

Analysis of five Duchenne muscular dystrophy exons and gender determination using conventional duplex polymerase chain reaction on single cells. (5/886)

We have developed five conventional duplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocols on single lymphocytes and blastomeres from embryos, in order to analyse five exons commonly deleted in deletion-type Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The five DMD gene exons (17, 19, 44, 45 and 48) can be analysed in separate duplex PCR reactions together with the sex-determining region Y (SRY) gene which enables simultaneous gender assignment. We present here PCR amplification results from single lymphocytes isolated from a normal male (220 cells), a normal female (24 cells) and a male DMD patient (40 cells) carrying a deletion of exons 46-49 within the DMD gene. The method failed to produce a PCR signal for the SRY gene in 8/220 normal male cells (3.6%) and for a DMD exon in 0-4.5% of normal male cells. One negative control out of 112 was positive. When this method was used to analyse two blastomeres from each of five embryos, concordant results were obtained for each pair of blastomeres. All embryos produced signals for the DMD exon tested with four of the embryos found to be male and one female. This method is therefore suitable for preimplantation genetic diagnosis and will allow the transfer of healthy embryos (both male and female) in families carrying DMD gene deletions involving at least one of the five exons 17, 19, 44, 45 and 48.  (+info)

Different dystrophin-like complexes are expressed in neurons and glia. (6/886)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal muscle disease that is often associated with cognitive impairment. Accordingly, dystrophin is found at the muscle sarcolemma and at postsynaptic sites in neurons. In muscle, dystrophin forms part of a membrane-spanning complex, the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DPC). Whereas the composition of the DPC in muscle is well documented, the existence of a similar complex in brain remains largely unknown. To determine the composition of DPC-like complexes in brain, we have examined the molecular associations and distribution of the dystrobrevins, a widely expressed family of dystrophin-associated proteins, some of which are components of the muscle DPC. beta-Dystrobrevin is found in neurons and is highly enriched in postsynaptic densities (PSDs). Furthermore, beta-dystrobrevin forms a specific complex with dystrophin and syntrophin. By contrast, alpha-dystrobrevin-1 is found in perivascular astrocytes and Bergmann glia, and is not PSD-enriched. alpha-Dystrobrevin-1 is associated with Dp71, utrophin, and syntrophin. In the brains of mice that lack dystrophin and Dp71, the dystrobrevin-syntrophin complexes are still formed, whereas in dystrophin-deficient muscle, the assembly of the DPC is disrupted. Thus, despite the similarity in primary sequence, alpha- and beta-dystrobrevin are differentially distributed in the brain where they form separate DPC-like complexes.  (+info)

A second promoter provides an alternative target for therapeutic up-regulation of utrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (7/886)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an inherited muscle-wasting disease caused by the absence of a muscle cytoskeletal protein, dystrophin. We have previously shown that utrophin, the autosomal homologue of dystrophin, is able to compensate for the absence of dystrophin in a mouse model of DMD; we have therefore undertaken a detailed study of the transcriptional regulation of utrophin to identify means of effecting its up-regulation in DMD muscle. We have previously isolated a promoter element lying within the CpG island at the 5' end of the gene and have shown it to be synaptically regulated in vivo. In this paper, we show that there is an alternative promoter lying within the large second intron of the utrophin gene, 50 kb 3' to exon 2. The promoter is highly regulated and drives transcription of a widely expressed unique first exon that splices into a common full-length mRNA at exon 3. The two utrophin promoters are independently regulated, and we predict that they respond to discrete sets of cellular signals. These findings significantly contribute to understanding the molecular physiology of utrophin expression and are important because the promoter reported here provides an alternative target for transcriptional activation of utrophin in DMD muscle. This promoter does not contain synaptic regulatory elements and might, therefore, be a more suitable target for pharmacological manipulation than the previously described promoter.  (+info)

Identification of point mutations in Turkish DMD/BMD families using multiplex-single stranded conformation analysis (SSCA). (8/886)

Small mutations are the cause of the disease in one third of cases of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD). The identification of point mutations in the dystrophin gene is considered to be very important, because it may provide new insights into the function of dystrophin and direct information for genetic counselling. In this study, we have screened 18 deletion-prone exons (25.5% of the coding region) of the dystrophin gene by using a modified non-isotopic multiplex single-stranded conformation analysis (SSCA). Mutations responsible for the disease phenotype could be identified in five out of 56 unrelated DMD/BMD patients without detectable deletions. Two of these mutations, 980-981delCC and 719G > C, are novel mutations which have not been described previously. Four of the five mutations, including 980-981delCC detected in this study are found to be nonsense or frameshift mutations leading to the synthesis of a truncated dystrophin protein. The missense mutation, 719G > C, causing the substitution of highly conserved alanine residue at 171 with proline in the actin binding domain of the dystrophin, is associated with a BMD phenotype. This study also revealed the presence of six polymorphisms in Turkish DMD/BMD patients.  (+info)