Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a congenital X-linked myopathy caused by lack of dystrophin protein expression. In DMD, the expression of many dystrophin-associated proteins (DAPs) is reduced along the sarcolemmal membrane, but the same proteins remain concentrated at the neuromuscular junction where utrophin, a dystrophin homologue, is expressed [Matsumura, K., Ervasti, J. M., Ohlendieck, K., Kahl, K. D. & Campbell, K. (1992) Nature (London) 360, 588–591]. This outcome has led to the concept that ectopic expression of a “synaptic scaffold” of DAPs and utrophin along myofibers might compensate for the molecular defects in DMD. Here we show that transgenic overexpression of the synaptic CT GalNAc transferase in the skeletal muscles of mdx animals (mdx/CT) increases the expression of utrophin and many DAPs, including dystroglycans, sarcoglycans, and dystrobrevins, along myofibers. Protein expression of utrophin and DAPs was equal to or above that of wild-type mice. In addition, α-dystroglycan was glycosylated with the CT carbohydrate antigen in mdx/CT but not in mdx muscles. mdx/CT mice have little or no evidence of muscular dystrophy by several standard measures; Serum creatine kinase levels, percentage of centrally located myofiber nuclei, and variance in myofiber diameter in mdx/CT muscles were dramatically reduced compared with mdx mice. These data suggest that ectopic expression of the CT GalNAc transferase creates a functional dystrophin-related complex along myofibers in the absence of dystrophin and should be considered as a target for therapeutic intervention in DMD
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.