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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2010 Sep;31(3):181-93. doi: 10.1007/s10974-010-9222-9. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

CT-GalNAc transferase overexpression in adult mice is associated with extrasynaptic utrophin in skeletal muscle fibres.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, QC H3A 2B4, Canada.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic muscle disease characterized by the absence of sub-sarcolemmal dystrophin that results in muscle fibre necrosis, progressive muscle wasting and is fatal. Numerous experimental studies with dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, an animal model for the disease, have demonstrated that extrasynaptic upregulation of utrophin, an analogue of dystrophin, can prevent muscle fibre deterioration and reduce or negate the dystrophic phenotype. A different approach for ectopic expression of utrophin relies on augmentation of CT-GalNAc transferase in muscle fibre. We investigated whether CT-GalNAc transferase overexpression in adult mice influence appearance of utrophin in the extrasynaptic sarcolemma. After electrotransfer of plasmid DNA carrying an expression cassette of CT-GalNAc transferase into tibialis anterior muscle of wild type and dystrophic mice, muscle sections were examined by immunofluorescence. CT-GalNAc transgene expression augmented sarcolemmal carbohydrate glycosylation and was accompanied by extrasynaptic utrophin. A 6-week time course study showed that the highest efficiency of utrophin overexpression in a plasmid harboured muscle fibres was 32.2% in CD-1 and 52% in mdx mice, 2 and 4 weeks after CT-GalNAc gene transfer, respectively. The study provides evidence that postnatal CT-GalNAc transferase overexpression stimulates utrophin upregulation that is inherently beneficial for muscle structure and strength restoration. Thus CT-GalNAc may provide an important therapeutic molecule for treatment of dystrophin deficiency in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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