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Gene Expr Patterns. 2004 Mar;4(2):153-9.

Embryonic expression patterns of the Drosophila dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex orthologs.

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Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, Wassenaarseweg 72, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands.


Mutations in genes encoding proteins of the human dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex (DGC) cause the Duchenne, Becker and limb-girdle muscular dystrophies. Subsets of the DGC proteins form tissue-specific complexes which are thought to play structural and signaling roles in the muscle and at the neuromuscular junction. Furthermore, mutations in the dystrophin gene that lead to Duchenne muscular dystrophy are frequently associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits, suggesting a role for dystrophin in the nervous system. Despite significant progress over the past decade, many fundamental questions about the roles played by dystrophin and the other DGC proteins in the muscle and peripheral and central nervous systems remain to be answered. Mammalian models of DGC gene function are complicated by the existence of fully or partially redundant genes whose functions can mask effects of the inactivation of a given DGC gene. The genome of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster encodes a single ortholog of the majority of the mammalian DGC protein subclasses, thus potentially simplifying their functional analysis. We report here the embryonic mRNA expression patterns of the individual DGC orthologs. We find that they are predominantly expressed in the nervous system and in muscle. Dystrophin, dystrobrevin-like, dystroglycan-like, syntrophin-like 1, and all three sarcoglycan orthologs are found in the brain and the ventral nerve cord, while dystrophin, dystrobrevin-like, dystroglycan-like, syntrophin-like 2, sarcoglycan alpha and sarcoglycan delta are expressed in distinct and sometimes overlapping domains of mesoderm-derived tissues, i.e. muscles of the body wall and around the gut.

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