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Sci Rep. 2011;1:47. doi: 10.1038/srep00047. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Hyperthermic seizures and aberrant cellular homeostasis in Drosophila dystrophic muscles.

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Max Planck Gene Expression and Signaling Group, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, 37077, Göttingen, Germany.


In humans, mutations in the Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC) cause muscular dystrophies (MDs) that are associated with muscle loss, seizures and brain abnormalities leading to early death. Using Drosophila as a model to study MD we have found that loss of Dystrophin (Dys) during development leads to heat-sensitive abnormal muscle contractions that are repressed by mutations in Dys's binding partner, Dystroglycan (Dg). Hyperthermic seizures are independent from dystrophic muscle degeneration and rely on neurotransmission, which suggests involvement of the DGC in muscle-neuron communication. Additionally, reduction of the Ca(2+) regulator, Calmodulin or Ca(2+) channel blockage rescues the seizing phenotype, pointing to Ca(2+) mis-regulation in dystrophic muscles. Also, Dys and Dg mutants have antagonistically abnormal cellular levels of ROS, suggesting that the DGC has a function in regulation of muscle cell homeostasis. These data show that muscles deficient for Dys are predisposed to hypercontraction that may result from abnormal neuromuscular junction signaling.

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