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Prog Histochem Cytochem. 2000;35(3):187-251.

Myotonic dystrophy and myotonic dystrophy protein kinase.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Yamanashi Medical University, Japan.


Myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) was designated as a gene responsible for myotonic dystrophy (DM) on chromosome 19, because the gene product has extensive homology to protein kinase catalytic domains. DM is the most common disease with multisystem disorders among muscular dystrophies. The genetic basis of DM is now known to include mutational expansion of a repetitive trinucleotide sequence (CTG)n in the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of DMPK. Full-length DMPK was detected and various isoforms of DMPK have been reported in skeletal and cardiac muscles, central nervous tissues, etc. DMPK is localized predominantly in type I muscle fibers, muscle spindles, neuromuscular junctions and myotendinous tissues in skeletal muscle. In cardiac muscle it is localized in intercalated dises and Purkinje fibers. Electron microscopically it is detected in the terminal cisternae of SR in skeletal muscle and the junctional and corbular SR in cardia muscle. In central nervous system, it is located in many neurons, especially in the cytoplasm of cerebellar Purkinje cells, hippocampal interneurons and spinal motoneurons. Electron microscopically it is detected in rough endoplasmic reticulum. The functional role of DMPK is not fully understood, however, it may play an important role in Ca2+ homeostasis and signal transduction system. Diseased amount of DMPK may play an important role in the degeneration of skeletal muscle in adult type DM. However, other molecular pathogenetical mechanisms such as dysfunction of surrounding genes by structural change of the chromosome by long trinucleotide repeats, and the trans-gain of function of CUG-binding proteins might be responsible to induce multisystemic disorders of DM such as myotonia, endocrine dysfunction, etc.

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