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J Clin Invest. 2013 Dec;123(12):5146-51. doi: 10.1172/JCI66271. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Inhibition of Coxsackievirus-associated dystrophin cleavage prevents cardiomyopathy.


Heart failure in children and adults is often the consequence of myocarditis associated with Coxsackievirus (CV) infection. Upon CV infection, enteroviral protease 2A cleaves a small number of host proteins including dystrophin, which links actin filaments to the plasma membrane of muscle fiber cells (sarcolemma). It is unknown whether protease 2A-mediated cleavage of dystrophin and subsequent disruption of the sarcolemma play a role in CV-mediated myocarditis. We generated knockin mice harboring a mutation at the protease 2A cleavage site of the dystrophin gene, which prevents dystrophin cleavage following CV infection. Compared with wild-type mice, we found that mice expressing cleavage-resistant dystrophin had a decrease in sarcolemmal disruption and cardiac virus titer following CV infection. In addition, cleavage-resistant dystrophin inhibited the cardiomyopathy induced by cardiomyocyte-restricted expression of the CV protease 2A transgene. These findings indicate that protease 2A-mediated cleavage of dystrophin is critical for viral propagation, enteroviral-mediated cytopathic effects, and the development of cardiomyopathy.

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