Continuous Remodeling of Adult Extraocular Muscles as an Explanation for Selective Craniofacial Vulnerability in Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

Jonathan D. Wirtschafter, Deborah A Ferrington, Linda K McLoon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Oculopharyngeal muscular mystrophy (OPMD) is an inherited disorder caused by mutations of the polyadenylate binding protein nuclear 1 (PABPN1) gene. While a pathogenic hypothesis has been formulated that links the genetic and molecular abnormalities to cellular abnormalities, there is no proven explanation for the targeting of the craniofacial muscles. We propose a hypothesis that bridges this gap. It is based on the phenomenon of continuous remodeling of normal adult extraocular muscles (EOMs). Unlike the EOMs, the myonuclei of other skeletal muscles are postmitotic in the adult unless the muscles are injured. Continuous myofiber remodeling most likely requires upregulation of genes involved in cell cycling, and in protein degradation and synthesis. PABPN1 is a nuclear protein that performs the essential function of controlling polyadenylation of mRNA and the fidelity of protein synthesis. In OPMD, the ongoing production of mutant PABPN1 in muscles undergoing continuous remodeling could result in a failure of accurate production of mRNA required for the maintenance of the myocytes. Over many years, this would lead to cumulative myonuclear loss and finally to myofiber loss. This hypothesis offers an explanation for the selective involvement of extraocular muscles affected in OPMD and the onset of symptoms in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-67
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuro-Ophthalmology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004

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