Send to

Choose Destination
Neurol Sci. 2000;21(5 Suppl):S929-37.

Structural comparison of actin binding in utrophin and dystrophin.

Author information

BBSRC Structural Biology Centre and School of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, UK.


Dystrophin links the actin cytoskeleton to the dystroglycan complex in the plasma membrane as part of the linkage between the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. Damage to or absence of dystrophin causes Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy. It has been proposed that elevating the levels of utrophin, a close homologue of dystrophin, may act as a therapy for these forms of muscular dystrophy. This requires that there is a close functional equivalence of these two proteins. In both utrophin and dystrophin, the main actin-binding region is at the N terminus. It is related to sequences found in a number of other proteins including alpha-actinin, spectrin and fimbrin. Recent structural and biochemical studies of these proteins have shown that although the method of binding to actin is broadly similar, there are significant differences. There are even differences between utrophin and dystrophin. These studies imply that some caution should be applied to claims that utrophin and dystrophin are completely functionally interchangeable. In this paper, I review studies that elucidate and compare the actin-binding function of utrophin and dystrophin, particularly those initiated in the laboratory of Dr. John Kendrick-Jones at the MRC in Cambridge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center