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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2005 Sep;12(3):152-8.

The dystroglycanopathies: the new disorders of O-linked glycosylation.

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  • 1Center for Gene Therapy, Columbus Children's Research Institute, Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.


It has become clear in the past half decade that a number of forms of congenital muscular dystrophy are in fact congenital disorders of glycosylation. Genes for Walker Warburg syndrome, muscle-eye-brain disease, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy 1C and 1D, and limb girdle muscular dystrophy 21 have been identified, and gene mutations resulting in these diseases all cause the underglycosylation of alpha dystroglycan with O-linked carbohydrates. Unlike congenital disorders of glycosylation involving the N-linked pathway, these O-linked disorders possess distinctive muscle, eye, and brain phenotypes. Studies using mice and patient tissues strongly suggest that underglycosylation of dystroglycan inhibits the binding extracellular matrix proteins, effectively divorcing this important cell adhesion molecule from its extracellular environment. Moreover, defects in dystroglycan alone can account for most, if not all, cellular pathology. Thus, these disorders are now collectively referred to as dystroglycanopathies.

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