The CTG repeat expansion size correlates with the splicing defects observed in muscles from myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients

A. Botta, F. Rinaldi, C. Catalli, L. Vergani, E. Bonifazi, V. Romeo, E. Loro, A. Viola, C. Angelini, G. Novelli

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32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is caused by an unstable (CTG)n repetition located in the 3'UTR of the DM protein kinase gene (DMPK). Untranslated expanded DMPK transcripts are retained in ribonuclear foci which sequester CUG-binding proteins essential for the maturation of pre-mRNAs. Aim: To investigate the effects of CTG expansion length on three molecular parameters associated with the DM1 muscle pathology: (1) the expression level of the DMPK gene; (2) the degree of splicing misregulation; and (3) the number of ribonuclear foci. Methods: Splicing analysis of the IR, MBNL1, c-TNT and CLCN1 genes, RNA-FISH experiments and determination of the DMPK expression on muscle samples from DM1 patients with an expansion below 500 repetitions (n = 6), DM1 patients carrying a mutation above 1000 CTGs (n = 6), and from controls (n = 6). Results: The level of aberrant splicing of the IR, MBNL1, c-TNT and CLCN1 genes is different between the two groups of DM1 muscle samples and correlates with the CTG repeat length. RNA-FISH analysis revealed that the number of ribonuclear foci in DM1 muscle sections increases in patients with a higher (CTG)n number. No relationships were found between the expression level of the DMPK gene transcript and average expansion sizes. Conclusion: The CTG repeat length plays a key role in the extent of splicing misregulation and foci formation, thus providing a useful link between the genotype and the molecular cellular phenotype in DM1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-646
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of medical genetics
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

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