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FEBS Lett. 1995 Nov 6;374(3):393-8.

Expression of utrophin and its mRNA in denervated mdx mouse muscle.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ont., Canada.


Utrophin is a large cytoskeletal protein which shows high homology to dystrophin. In contrast to the sarcolemmal distribution of dystrophin, utrophin accumulates at the postsynaptic membrane of the neuromuscular junction. Because of its localization within this compartment of muscle fibers, expression of utrophin may be significantly influenced by the presence of the motor nerve. We tested this hypothesis by denervating muscles of mdx mouse and monitoring levels of utrophin and its mRNA by immunofluorescence, immunoblotting and RT-PCR. A significant increase in the number of utrophin positive fibers was observed by immunofluorescence 3 to 21 days after sectioning of the sciatic nerve. Quantitative analyses of utrophin and its transcripts in hindlimb muscles denervated for two weeks showed only a moderate increase in the levels of both utrophin (approximately 2-fold) and its transcript (approximately 60 to 90%). The present data suggest that although utrophin is a component of the postsynaptic membrane, its neural regulation is distinct from that of the acetylcholine receptor.

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