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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Mar;60(3):557-66.

U7 snRNAs induce correction of mutated dystrophin pre-mRNA by exon skipping.

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Division of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University of Bern, Murtenstrasse 31, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.


Most cases of Duchenne muscular dystrophy are caused by dystrophin gene mutations that disrupt the mRNA reading frame. Artificial exclusion (skipping) of a single exon would often restore the reading frame, giving rise to a shorter, but still functional dystrophin protein. Here, we analyzed the ability of antisense U7 small nuclear (sn)RNA derivatives to alter dystrophin pre-mRNA splicing. As a proof of principle, we first targeted the splice sites flanking exon 23 of dystrophin pre-mRNA in the wild-type muscle cell line C2C12 and showed precise exon 23 skipping. The same strategy was then successfully adapted to dystrophic immortalized mdx muscle cells where exon-23-skipped dystrophin mRNA rescued dystrophin protein synthesis. Moreover, we observed a stimulation of antisense U7 snRNA expression by the murine muscle creatine kinase enhancer. These results demonstrate that alteration of dystrophin pre-mRNA splicing could correct dystrophin gene mutations by expression of specific U7 snRNA constructs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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