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Sci Transl Med. 2010 Sep 22;2(50):50ra69. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000951.

A naturally occurring human minidysferlin protein repairs sarcolemmal lesions in a mouse model of dysferlinopathy.

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Inserm UMR_S 910, Génétique Médicale et Génomique Fonctionnelle, Faculté de Médecine de Marseille, Université de la Méditerranée, 13005 Marseille, France.


Dysferlinopathies are autosomal recessive, progressive muscle dystrophies caused by mutations in DYSF, leading to a loss or a severe reduction of dysferlin, a key protein in sarcolemmal repair. Currently, no etiological treatment is available for patients affected with dysferlinopathy. As for other muscular dystrophies, gene therapy approaches based on recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors are promising options. However, because dysferlin messenger RNA is far above the natural packaging size of rAAV, full-length dysferlin gene transfer would be problematic. In a patient presenting with a late-onset moderate dysferlinopathy, we identified a large homozygous deletion, leading to the production of a natural "minidysferlin" protein. Using rAAV-mediated gene transfer into muscle, we demonstrated targeting of the minidysferlin to the muscle membrane and efficient repair of sarcolemmal lesions in a mouse model of dysferlinopathy. Thus, as previously demonstrated in the case of dystrophin, a deletion mutant of the dysferlin gene is also functional, suggesting that dysferlin's structure is modular. This minidysferlin protein could be used as part of a therapeutic strategy for patients affected with dysferlinopathies.

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