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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Mar;1762(3):362-72.

Pathological pattern of Mdx mice diaphragm correlates with gradual expression of the short utrophin isoform Up71.

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Université Montpellier 1, UFR de Médecine, Laboratoire de Physiologie des Interactions, EA 701, Institut de Biologie, Boulevard Henri IV, 34062, Montpellier France


Utrophin gene is transcribed in a large mRNA of 13 kb that codes for a protein of 395 kDa. It shows amino acid identity with dystrophin of up to 73% and is widely expressed in muscle and non-muscle tissues. Up71 is a short utrophin product of the utrophin gene with the same cysteine-rich and C-terminal domains as full-length utrophin (Up395). Using RT-PCR, Western blots analysis, we demonstrated that Up71 is overexpressed in the mdx diaphragm, the most pathological muscle in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, compared to wild-type C57BL/10 or other mdx skeletal muscles. Subsequently, we demonstrated that this isoform displayed an increased expression level up to 12 months, whereas full-length utrophin (Up395) decreased. In addition, beta-dystroglycan, the transmembrane glycoprotein that anchors the cytoplasmic C-terminal domain of utrophin, showed similar increase expression in mdx diaphragm, as opposed to other components of the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC) such as alpha-dystrobrevin1 and alpha-sarcoglycan. We demonstrated that Up71 and beta-dystroglycan were progressively accumulated along the extrasynaptic region of regenerating clusters in mdx diaphragm. Our data provide novel functional insights into the pathological role of the Up71 isoform in dystrophinopathies.

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