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Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Jul 15;10(15):1563-9.

Processing of beta-dystroglycan by matrix metalloproteinase disrupts the link between the extracellular matrix and cell membrane via the dystroglycan complex.

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Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan.


The dystroglycan complex is a membrane-spanning complex composed of two subunits, alpha- and beta-dystroglycan. alpha-dystroglycan is a cell surface peripheral membrane protein which binds to the extracellular matrix (ECM), whereas beta-dystroglycan is an integral membrane protein which anchors alpha-dystroglycan to the cell membrane. The dystroglycan complex provides a tight link between the ECM and cell membrane. Dysfunction of the dystroglycan complex has commonly been implicated in the molecular pathogenesis of severe forms of hereditary neuromuscular diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy and sarcoglycanopathy (LGMD2C, -D, -E and -F). To begin to clarify the pathway by which the dysfunction of the dystroglycan complex could lead to muscle cell degeneration, we investigated the proteolytic processing of the dystroglycan complex in this study. We demonstrate that (i) a 30 kDa fragment of beta-dystroglycan is expressed in peripheral nerve, kidney, lung and smooth muscle, but not skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle or brain, and (ii) this fragment is the product of proteolytic processing of the extracellular domain of beta-dystroglycan by the membrane-associated matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity. Importantly, furthermore, we demonstrate that this processing disintegrates the dystroglycan complex. Our results indicate that the processing of beta-dystroglycan by MMP causes the disruption of the link between the ECM and cell membrane via the dystroglycan complex, which could have profound effects on cell viability. Based on these and previously reported findings, we propose a hypothesis that this processing may play a crucial role in the molecular pathogenesis of sarcoglycanopathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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