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Microsc Res Tech. 2002 Sep 1;58(5):404-11.

Myotonic dystrophy protein kinase of the cardiac muscle: evaluation using an immunochemical approach.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy.


Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is an inherited multisystem disorder characterized by the presence of a high polymorphic expansion of trinucleotide (CTG) repeat in the 3' untranslated region of the DM protein kinase (DMPK) gene. However, the role of myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) has yet to be elucidated. Studies aimed to discover possible physiological targets of DMPK indicated several subcellular localization sites, such as neuromuscular junctions, myotendinous junctions, and terminal cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in the skeletal muscle and intercalated discs in the cardiac muscle. Here, we extend our previous observations on the localization of DMPK at gap junction (GJ) level in the heart, taking advantage of the polyclonal peptide-specific anti-DMPK antibodies raised against two different domains of the protein. DMPK was detected by immunofluorescence at the intercalated disc level by both antibodies. Double immunofluorescence staining experiments performed with each anti-DMPK and anti-connexin43 showed colocalization of the two antigens. Immunoblot analysis of partially purified GJs showed co-sedimentation of DMPK and connexin43. We conclude that GJs are a genuine localization site of DMPK. Given the known regulation exerted by protein kinases on assembly, trafficking, gating, and disassembly of connexins, such a localization may be relevant to the functional role of connexins. DM is the most common muscular dystrophy in adults, and is known by the cardiac involvement that is a common feature in DM patients. Localization of DMPK at GJ in relation to DM is also briefly discussed.

Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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