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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2010 Jun;36(4):275-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2010.01068.x. Epub 2009 Nov 20.

The myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) gene product zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) is associated with sarcomeres and normally localized in DM2 patients' muscles.

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Department of Neurosciences, Tor Vergata University of Rome, Via Montpellier 1, I-00133, Rome, Italy.



Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is caused by a [CCTG]n intronic expansion in the zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene. As for DM1, sharing with DM2 a similar phenotype, the pathogenic mutation involves a transcribed but untranslated genomic region, suggesting that RNA toxicity may have a role in the pathogenesis of these multisystem disorders by interfering with common cellular mechanisms. However, haploinsufficiency has been described in DM1 and DM2 animal models, and might contribute to pathogenesis. The aim of the present work was therefore to assess ZNF9 protein expression in rat tissues and in human muscle, and ZNF9 subcellular distribution in normal and DM2 human muscles.


Polyclonal anti-ZNF9 antibodies were obtained in rabbit, high pressure liquid chromatography-purified, and used for Western blot, standard and confocal immunofluorescence and immunogold labelling electron microscopy on a panel of normal rat tissues and on normal and DM2 human muscles.


Western blot analysis showed that ZNF9 is ubiquitously expressed in mammalian tissues, and that its signal is not substantially modified in DM2 muscles. Immunofluorescence studies showed a myofibrillar distribution of ZNF9, and double staining with two non-repetitive epitopes of titin located it in the I bands. This finding was confirmed by the visualization of ZNF9 in close relation with sarcomeric thin filaments by immunogold labelling electron microscopy. ZNF9 distribution was unaltered in DM2 muscle fibres.


ZNF9 is abundantly expressed in human myofibres, where it is located in the sarcomeric I bands, and no modification of this pattern is observed in DM2 muscles.

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