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J Comp Neurol. 1998 May 11;394(3):309-25.

Developmental changes in expression of myotonic dystrophy protein kinase in the rat central nervous system.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) is the protein product of the genetic locus associated with myotonic dystrophy, in which alterations of muscle excitability, cardiac conduction defects, mental retardation, and cognitive deficiencies are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. DMPK belongs to a novel protein serine/threonine kinase family, but its regulation and physiological functions have not been specified. In a first step toward understanding the functions of DMPK in the central nervous system, we have characterized its localization and developmental pattern of expression in rat brain and spinal cord by using a monospecific rabbit antiserum produced against bacterially expressed DMPK. Expression of DMPK begins after birth and increases gradually to peak at postnatal day 21 with antibody labeling of neuronal cell types in many regions. After postnatal day 21 and proceeding to the adult, the pattern of expression becomes more restricted, with localization to certain regions or cell groups in the central nervous system. Electron microscopy reveals localization within adult spinal motor neurons to the endoplasmic reticulum and dendritic microtubules. The adult localizations suggest that DMPK may function in membrane trafficking and secretion within neurons associated with cognition, memory, and motor control.

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