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1.  The dystrotelin, dystrophin and dystrobrevin superfamily: new paralogues and old isoforms 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:19.
Dystrophins and dystrobrevins are distantly related proteins with important but poorly understood roles in the function of metazoan muscular and neuronal tissues. Defects in them and their associated proteins cause a range of neuromuscular disorders. Members of this superfamily have been discovered in a relatively serendipitous way; we set out to compile a comprehensive description of dystrophin- and dystrobrevin-related sequences from available metazoan genome sequences, validated in representative organisms by RT-PCR, or acquired de novo from key species.
Features of the superfamily revealed by our survey include: a) Dystrotelin, an entirely novel branch of the superfamily, present in most vertebrates examined. Dystrotelin is expressed in the central nervous system, and is a possible orthologue of Drosophila DAH. We describe the preliminary characterisation of its function, evolution and expression. b) A novel vertebrate member of the dystrobrevin family, γ-dystrobrevin, an ancient branch now extant only in fish, but probably present in our own ancestors. Like dystrophin, zebrafish γ-dystrobrevin mRNA is localised to myosepta. c) The extent of conservation of alternative splicing and alternative promoter use in the dystrophin and dystrobrevin genes; alternative splicing of dystrophin exons 73 and 78 and α-dystrobrevin exon 13 are conserved across vertebrates, as are the use of the Dp116, Dp71 and G-utrophin promoters; the Dp260 and Dp140 promoters are tetrapod innovations. d) The evolution of the unique N-terminus of DRP2 and its relationship to Dp116 and G-utrophin. e) A C-terminally truncated common ancestor of dystrophin and utrophin in cyclostomes. f) A severely restricted repertoire of dystrophin complex components in ascidians.
We have refined our understanding of the evolutionary history and isoform diversity of the five previously reported vertebrate superfamily members and describe two novel members, dystrotelin and γ-dystrobrevin. Dystrotelins, dystrophins and dystrobrevins are roughly equally related to each other. Vertebrates therefore have a repertoire of seven superfamily members (three dystrophins, three dystrobevins, and one dystrotelin), with one lost in tetrapods. Most invertebrates studied have one member from each branch. Although the basic shared function which is implied by the common architecture of these distantly related proteins remains unclear, it clearly permeates metazoan biology.
PMCID: PMC1790709  PMID: 17233888
2.  Different Dystrophin-like Complexes Are Expressed in Neurons and Glia 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;147(3):645-658.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a fatal muscle disease that is often associated with cognitive impairment. Accordingly, dystrophin is found at the muscle sarcolemma and at postsynaptic sites in neurons. In muscle, dystrophin forms part of a membrane-spanning complex, the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DPC). Whereas the composition of the DPC in muscle is well documented, the existence of a similar complex in brain remains largely unknown. To determine the composition of DPC-like complexes in brain, we have examined the molecular associations and distribution of the dystrobrevins, a widely expressed family of dystrophin-associated proteins, some of which are components of the muscle DPC. β-Dystrobrevin is found in neurons and is highly enriched in postsynaptic densities (PSDs). Furthermore, β-dystrobrevin forms a specific complex with dystrophin and syntrophin. By contrast, α-dystrobrevin-1 is found in perivascular astrocytes and Bergmann glia, and is not PSD-enriched. α-Dystrobrevin-1 is associated with Dp71, utrophin, and syntrophin. In the brains of mice that lack dystrophin and Dp71, the dystrobrevin–syntrophin complexes are still formed, whereas in dystrophin-deficient muscle, the assembly of the DPC is disrupted. Thus, despite the similarity in primary sequence, α- and β-dystrobrevin are differentially distributed in the brain where they form separate DPC-like complexes.
PMCID: PMC2151186  PMID: 10545507
dystrobrevin; dystrophin; synapse; postsynaptic density; astrocyte
3.  Differential Membrane Localization and Intermolecular Associations of α-Dystrobrevin Isoforms in Skeletal Muscle  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1998;142(5):1269-1278.
α-Dystrobrevin is both a dystrophin homologue and a component of the dystrophin protein complex. Alternative splicing yields five forms, of which two predominate in skeletal muscle: full-length α-dystrobrevin-1 (84 kD), and COOH-terminal truncated α-dystrobrevin-2 (65 kD). Using isoform-specific antibodies, we find that α-dystrobrevin-2 is localized on the sarcolemma and at the neuromuscular synapse, where, like dystrophin, it is most concentrated in the depths of the postjunctional folds. α-Dystrobrevin-2 preferentially copurifies with dystrophin from muscle extracts. In contrast, α-dystrobrevin-1 is more highly restricted to the synapse, like the dystrophin homologue utrophin, and preferentially copurifies with utrophin. In yeast two-hybrid experiments and coimmunoprecipitation of in vitro–translated proteins, α-dystrobrevin-2 binds dystrophin, whereas α-dystrobrevin-1 binds both dystrophin and utrophin. α-Dystrobrevin-2 was lost from the nonsynaptic sarcolemma of dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, but was retained on the perisynaptic sarcolemma even in mice lacking both utrophin and dystrophin. In contrast, α-dystrobrevin-1 remained synaptically localized in mdx and utrophin-negative muscle, but was absent in double mutants. Thus, the distinct distributions of α-dystrobrevin-1 and -2 can be partly explained by specific associations with utrophin and dystrophin, but other factors are also involved. These results show that alternative splicing confers distinct properties of association on the α-dystrobrevins.
PMCID: PMC2149339  PMID: 9732287
dystrophin complex; neuromuscular junction; postsynaptic folds; high revolution immunofluorescence; isoform-specific antibodies
4.  Profound human/mouse differences in alpha-dystrobrevin isoforms: a novel syntrophin-binding site and promoter missing in mouse and rat 
BMC Biology  2009;7:85.
The dystrophin glycoprotein complex is disrupted in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and many other neuromuscular diseases. The principal heterodimeric partner of dystrophin at the heart of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex in the main clinically affected tissues (skeletal muscle, heart and brain) is its distant relative, α-dystrobrevin. The α-dystrobrevin gene is subject to complex transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation, generating a substantial range of isoforms by alternative promoter use, alternative polyadenylation and alternative splicing. The choice of isoform is understood, amongst other things, to determine the stoichiometry of syntrophins (and their ligands) in the dystrophin glycoprotein complex.
We show here that, contrary to the literature, most α-dystrobrevin genes, including that of humans, encode three distinct syntrophin-binding sites, rather than two, resulting in a greatly enhanced isoform repertoire. We compare in detail the quantitative tissue-specific expression pattern of human and mouse α-dystrobrevin isoforms, and show that two major gene features (the novel syntrophin-binding site-encoding exon and the internal promoter and first exon of brain-specific isoforms α-dystrobrevin-4 and -5) are present in most mammals but specifically ablated in mouse and rat.
Lineage-specific mutations in the murids mean that the mouse brain has fewer than half of the α-dystrobrevin isoforms found in the human brain. Our finding that there are likely to be fundamental functional differences between the α-dystrobrevins (and therefore the dystrophin glycoprotein complexes) of mice and humans raises questions about the current use of the mouse as the principal model animal for studying Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other related disorders, especially the neurological aspects thereof.
PMCID: PMC2796648  PMID: 19961569
5.  Dystrophin-Associated Protein Scaffolding in Brain Requires α-Dystrobrevin 
Neuroreport  2010;21(10):695-699.
Dystrophin and the α-dystrobrevins bind directly to the adaptor protein syntrophin to form membrane-associated scaffolds. At the blood-brain barrier, α-syntrophin co-localizes with dystrophin and the α-dystrobrevins in perivascular glial endfeet and is required for localization of the water channel aquaporin-4. We have previously shown that localization of the scaffolding proteins γ2-syntrophin, α-dystrobrevin-2, and dystrophin to glial endfeet is also dependent upon the presence of α-syntrophin. In the present study, we show that the expression levels of α-syntrophin, γ2-syntrophin, and dystrophin at the blood-brain barrier are reduced in α-dystrobrevin-null mice. This is the first demonstration that assembly of an astroglial protein scaffold containing syntrophin and dystrophin in perivascular astrocytes is dependent upon the presence of α-dystrobrevin.
PMCID: PMC2889226  PMID: 20508543
glia; dystrophin; syntrophin; perivascular astrocyte
6.  Blastocyst Injection of Wild Type Embryonic Stem Cells Induces Global Corrections in Mdx Mice 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4759.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an incurable neuromuscular degenerative disease, caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene. Mdx mice recapitulate DMD features. Here we show that injection of wild-type (WT) embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into mdx blastocysts produces mice with improved pathology and function. A small fraction of WT ESCs incorporates into the mdx mouse nonuniformly to upregulate protein levels of dystrophin in the skeletal muscle. The chimeric muscle shows reduced regeneration and restores dystrobrevin, a dystrophin-related protein, in areas with high and with low dystrophin content. WT ESC injection increases the amount of fat in the chimeras to reach WT levels. ESC injection without dystrophin does not prevent the appearance of phenotypes in the skeletal muscle or in the fat. Thus, dystrophin supplied by the ESCs reverses disease in mdx mice globally in a dose-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC2653195  PMID: 19277212
7.  Assembly of the Dystrophin-Associated Protein Complex Does Not Require the Dystrophin Cooh-Terminal Domain 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;150(6):1399-1410.
Dystrophin is a multidomain protein that links the actin cytoskeleton to laminin in the extracellular matrix through the dystrophin associated protein (DAP) complex. The COOH-terminal domain of dystrophin binds to two components of the DAP complex, syntrophin and dystrobrevin. To understand the role of syntrophin and dystrobrevin, we previously generated a series of transgenic mouse lines expressing dystrophins with deletions throughout the COOH-terminal domain. Each of these mice had normal muscle function and displayed normal localization of syntrophin and dystrobrevin. Since syntrophin and dystrobrevin bind to each other as well as to dystrophin, we have now generated a transgenic mouse deleted for the entire dystrophin COOH-terminal domain. Unexpectedly, this truncated dystrophin supported normal muscle function and assembly of the DAP complex. These results demonstrate that syntrophin and dystrobrevin functionally associate with the DAP complex in the absence of a direct link to dystrophin. We also observed that the DAP complexes in these different transgenic mouse strains were not identical. Instead, the DAP complexes contained varying ratios of syntrophin and dystrobrevin isoforms. These results suggest that alternative splicing of the dystrophin gene, which naturally generates COOH-terminal deletions in dystrophin, may function to regulate the isoform composition of the DAP complex.
PMCID: PMC2150715  PMID: 10995444
dystrophin; muscular dystrophy; syntrophin; dystrobrevin; mdx mice
8.  Differential Requirement for Utrophin in the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Correction of Muscle versus Fat in Muscular Dystrophy Mice 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20065.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an incurable degenerative muscle disorder. We injected WT mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into mdx and mdx∶utrophin mutant blastocysts, which are predisposed to develop DMD with an increasing degree of severity (mdx <<< mdx∶utrophin). In mdx chimeras, iPSC-dystrophin was supplied to the muscle sarcolemma to effect corrections at morphological and functional levels. Dystrobrevin was observed in dystrophin-positive and, at a lesser extent, utrophin-positive areas. In the mdx∶utrophin mutant chimeras, although iPSC-dystrophin was also supplied to the muscle sarcolemma, mice still displayed poor skeletal muscle histopathology, and negligible levels of dystrobrevin in dystrophin- and utrophin-negative areas. Not only dystrophin-expressing tissues are affected by iPSCs. Mdx and mdx∶utrophin mice have reduced fat/body weight ratio, but iPSC injection normalized this parameter in both mdx and mdx∶utrophin chimeras, despite the fact that utrophin was compromised in the mdx∶utrophin chimeric fat. The results suggest that the presence of utrophin is required for the iPSC-corrections in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, the results highlight a potential (utrophin-independent) non-cell autonomous role for iPSC-dystrophin in the corrections of non-muscle tissue like fat, which is intimately related to the muscle.
PMCID: PMC3095639  PMID: 21603573
9.  Role of β-Dystrobrevin in Nonmuscle Dystrophin-Associated Protein Complex-Like Complexes in Kidney and Liver 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(21):7442-7448.
β-Dystrobrevin is a dystrophin-related and -associated protein that is highly expressed in brain, kidney, and liver. Recent studies with the kidneys of the mdx3Cv mouse, which lacks all dystrophin isoforms, suggest that β-dystrobrevin, and not the dystrophin isoforms, may be the key component in the assembly of complexes similar to the muscle dystrophin-associated protein complexes (DPC) in nonmuscle tissues. To understand the role of β-dystrobrevin in the function of nonmuscle tissues, we generated β-dystrobrevin-deficient (dtnb−/−) mice by gene targeting. dtnb−/− mice are healthy, fertile, and normal in appearance. No β-dystrobrevin was detected in these mice by Western blotting or immunocytochemistry. In addition, the levels of several β-dystrobrevin-interacting proteins, namely Dp71 isoforms and the syntrophins, were greatly reduced from the basal membranes of kidney tubules and liver sinusoids and on Western blots of crude kidney and liver microsomes of β-dystrobrevin-deficient mice. However, no abnormality was detected in the ultrastructure of membranes of kidney and liver cells or in the renal function of these mice. β-Dystrobrevin may therefore be an anchor or scaffold for Dp71 and syntrophin isoforms, as well as other associating proteins at the basal membranes of kidney and liver, but is not necessary for the normal function of these mice.
PMCID: PMC99916  PMID: 11585924
10.  Amelioration of Muscular Dystrophy by Transgenic Expression of Niemann-Pick C1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(1):146-152.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other types of muscular dystrophies are caused by the loss or alteration of different members of the dystrophin protein complex. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which dystrophin-associated protein abnormalities contribute to the onset of muscular dystrophy may identify new therapeutic approaches to these human disorders. By examining gene expression alterations in mouse skeletal muscle lacking α-dystrobrevin (Dtna−/−), we identified a highly significant reduction of the cholesterol trafficking protein, Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). Mutations in NPC1 cause a progressive neurodegenerative, lysosomal storage disorder. Transgenic expression of NPC1 in skeletal muscle ameliorates muscular dystrophy in the Dtna−/− mouse (which has a relatively mild dystrophic phenotype) and in the mdx mouse, a model for DMD. These results identify a new compensatory gene for muscular dystrophy and reveal a potential new therapeutic target for DMD.
PMCID: PMC2613093  PMID: 18946078
11.  The Role of Alpha-Dystrobrevin in Striated Muscle 
Muscular dystrophies are a group of diseases that primarily affect striated muscle and are characterized by the progressive loss of muscle strength and integrity. Major forms of muscular dystrophies are caused by the abnormalities of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC) that plays crucial roles as a structural unit and scaffolds for signaling molecules at the sarcolemma. α-Dystrobrevin is a component of the DGC and directly associates with dystrophin. α-Dystrobrevin also binds to intermediate filaments as well as syntrophin, a modular adaptor protein thought to be involved in signaling. Although no muscular dystrophy has been associated within mutations of the α-dystrobrevin gene, emerging findings suggest potential significance of α-dystrobrevin in striated muscle. This review addresses the functional role of α-dystrobrevin in muscle as well as its possible implication for muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3111625  PMID: 21673914
dystrobrevin; syntrophin; dystrophin; DGC; muscular dystrophy; signaling; intermediate filament; splicing
12.  Dystrobrevin controls neurotransmitter release and muscle Ca2+ transients by localizing BK channels in C. elegans 
Dystrobrevin is a major component of a dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC). It is widely expressed in mammalian tissues including the nervous system, where it is localized to the presynaptic nerve terminal with unknown function. In a genetic screen for suppressors of a lethargic phenotype caused by a gain-of-function (gf) isoform of SLO-1 in C. elegans, we isolated multiple loss-of-function (lf) mutants of the dystrobrevin gene dyb-1. dyb-1(lf) phenocopied slo-1(lf), causing increased neurotransmitter release at the neuromuscular junction, increased frequency of Ca2+ transients in body-wall muscle, and abnormal locomotion behavior. Neuron- and muscle-specific rescue experiments suggest that DYB-1 is required for SLO-1 function in both neurons and muscle cells. DYB-1 colocalized with SLO-1 at presynaptic sites in neurons and dense body regions in muscle cells, and dyb-1(lf) caused SLO-1 mislocalization in both types of cells without altering SLO-1 protein level. The neuronal phenotypes of dyb-1(lf) were partially rescued by mouse α-dystrobrevin-1 (αDB1). These observations revealed novel functions of the BK channel in regulating muscle Ca2+ transients, and of dystrobrevin in controlling neurotransmitter release and muscle Ca2+ transients by localizing the BK channel.
PMCID: PMC3233975  PMID: 22131396
dystrobrevin; BK channel; SLO-1; neurotransmitter release; Ca2+ transients
13.  Dystrophins and dystrobrevins 
Genome Biology  2001;2(4):reviews3006.1-reviews3006.7.
A unique arrangement of domains makes up the common region of two otherwise very different proteins - long, elegant dystrophin, and its rather dumpy distant cousin, dystrobrevin. The two work in concert, forming the core of a large membrane-bound complex in all metazoa. Like many proteins, dystrophin and dystrobrevin have diversified in the vertebrate clade, as have their binding partners, yielding specialized complexes tailored to different cellular and subcellular locations. Disruption of several components of the complex is known to result in syndromes that include progressive myopathy, sometimes combined with cognitive defects; the best known of these is Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Despite a wealth of biochemical, cell biological and genetic information, the precise role of dystrophins, dystrobrevins and their collaborators remains unclear.
PMCID: PMC138928  PMID: 11305946
14.  Muscle Dystroglycan Organizes the Postsynapse and Regulates Presynaptic Neurotransmitter Release at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(4):e2084.
The Dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) comprises dystrophin, dystroglycan, sarcoglycan, dystrobrevin and syntrophin subunits. In muscle fibers, it is thought to provide an essential mechanical link between the intracellular cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix and to protect the sarcolemma during muscle contraction. Mutations affecting the DGC cause muscular dystrophies. Most members of the DGC are also concentrated at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), where their deficiency is often associated with NMJ structural defects. Hence, synaptic dysfunction may also intervene in the pathology of dystrophic muscles. Dystroglycan is a central component of the DGC because it establishes a link between the extracellular matrix and Dystrophin. In this study, we focused on the synaptic role of Dystroglycan (Dg) in Drosophila.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We show that Dg was concentrated postsynaptically at the glutamatergic NMJ, where, like in vertebrates, it controls the concentration of synaptic Laminin and Dystrophin homologues. We also found that synaptic Dg controlled the amount of postsynaptic 4.1 protein Coracle and alpha-Spectrin, as well as the relative subunit composition of glutamate receptors. In addition, both Dystrophin and Coracle were required for normal Dg concentration at the synapse. In electrophysiological recordings, loss of postsynaptic Dg did not affect postsynaptic response, but, surprisingly, led to a decrease in glutamate release from the presynaptic site.
Altogether, our study illustrates a conservation of DGC composition and interactions between Drosophila and vertebrates at the synapse, highlights new proteins associated with this complex and suggests an unsuspected trans-synaptic function of Dg.
PMCID: PMC2323113  PMID: 18446215
15.  Destabilization of the Dystrophin-Glycoprotein Complex without Functional Deficits in α-Dystrobrevin Null Muscle 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2604.
α-Dystrobrevin is a component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) and is thought to have both structural and signaling roles in skeletal muscle. Mice deficient for α-dystrobrevin (adbn−/−) exhibit extensive myofiber degeneration and neuromuscular junction abnormalities. However, the biochemical stability of the DGC and the functional performance of adbn−/− muscle have not been characterized. Here we show that the biochemical association between dystrophin and β-dystroglycan is compromised in adbn−/− skeletal muscle, suggesting that α-dystrobrevin plays a structural role in stabilizing the DGC. However, despite muscle cell death and DGC destabilization, costamere organization and physiological performance is normal in adbn−/− skeletal muscle. Our results demonstrate that myofiber degeneration alone does not cause functional deficits and suggests that more complex pathological factors contribute to the development of muscle weakness in muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC2432020  PMID: 18596960
16.  Absence of α-Syntrophin Leads to Structurally Aberrant Neuromuscular Synapses Deficient in Utrophin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;150(6):1385-1398.
The syntrophins are a family of structurally related proteins that contain multiple protein interaction motifs. Syntrophins associate directly with dystrophin, the product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy locus, and its homologues. We have generated α-syntrophin null mice by targeted gene disruption to test the function of this association. The α-Syn−/− mice show no evidence of myopathy, despite reduced levels of α-dystrobrevin–2. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase, a component of the dystrophin protein complex, is absent from the sarcolemma of the α-Syn−/− mice, even where other syntrophin isoforms are present. α-Syn−/− neuromuscular junctions have undetectable levels of postsynaptic utrophin and reduced levels of acetylcholine receptor and acetylcholinesterase. The mutant junctions have shallow nerve gutters, abnormal distributions of acetylcholine receptors, and postjunctional folds that are generally less organized and have fewer openings to the synaptic cleft than controls. Thus, α-syntrophin has an important role in synapse formation and in the organization of utrophin, acetylcholine receptor, and acetylcholinesterase at the neuromuscular synapse.
PMCID: PMC2150701  PMID: 10995443
dystrophin; dystrobrevin; nitric oxide synthase; acetylcholine receptor; acetylcholinesterase
17.  Tyrosine-phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated isoforms of α-dystrobrevin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;160(5):741-752.
α-Dystrobrevin (DB), a cytoplasmic component of the dystrophin–glycoprotein complex, is found throughout the sarcolemma of muscle cells. Mice lacking αDB exhibit muscular dystrophy, defects in maturation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and, as shown here, abnormal myotendinous junctions (MTJs). In normal muscle, alternative splicing produces two main αDB isoforms, αDB1 and αDB2, with common NH2-terminal but distinct COOH-terminal domains. αDB1, whose COOH-terminal extension can be tyrosine phosphorylated, is concentrated at the NMJs and MTJs. αDB2, which is not tyrosine phosphorylated, is the predominant isoform in extrajunctional regions, and is also present at NMJs and MTJs. Transgenic expression of either isoform in αDB−/− mice prevented muscle fiber degeneration; however, only αDB1 completely corrected defects at the NMJs (abnormal acetylcholine receptor patterning, rapid turnover, and low density) and MTJs (shortened junctional folds). Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that the effectiveness of αDB1 in stabilizing the NMJ depends in part on its ability to serve as a tyrosine kinase substrate. Thus, αDB1 phosphorylation may be a key regulatory point for synaptic remodeling. More generally, αDB may play multiple roles in muscle by means of differential distribution of isoforms with distinct signaling or structural properties.
PMCID: PMC2173352  PMID: 12604589
dystrobrevin; dystrophin; muscular dystrophy; myotendinous junction; neuromuscular junction
18.  Proteomic Analysis Reveals New Cardiac-Specific Dystrophin-Associated Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43515.
Mutations affecting the expression of dystrophin result in progressive loss of skeletal muscle function and cardiomyopathy leading to early mortality. Interestingly, clinical studies revealed no correlation in disease severity or age of onset between cardiac and skeletal muscles, suggesting that dystrophin may play overlapping yet different roles in these two striated muscles. Since dystrophin serves as a structural and signaling scaffold, functional differences likely arise from tissue-specific protein interactions. To test this, we optimized a proteomics-based approach to purify, identify and compare the interactome of dystrophin between cardiac and skeletal muscles from as little as 50 mg of starting material. We found selective tissue-specific differences in the protein associations of cardiac and skeletal muscle full length dystrophin to syntrophins and dystrobrevins that couple dystrophin to signaling pathways. Importantly, we identified novel cardiac-specific interactions of dystrophin with proteins known to regulate cardiac contraction and to be involved in cardiac disease. Our approach overcomes a major challenge in the muscular dystrophy field of rapidly and consistently identifying bona fide dystrophin-interacting proteins in tissues. In addition, our findings support the existence of cardiac-specific functions of dystrophin and may guide studies into early triggers of cardiac disease in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies.
PMCID: PMC3427372  PMID: 22937058
19.  Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 7 (HPS-7) results from mutant dysbindin, a member of the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex 1 (BLOC-1) 
Nature genetics  2003;35(1):84-89.
Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS; MIM 203300) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by oculocutaneous albinism, prolonged bleeding and pulmonary fibrosis due to abnormal vesicle trafficking to lysosomes and related organelles, such as melanosomes and platelet dense granules1–3. In mice, at least 16 loci are associated with HPS4–6, including sandy (sdy; ref. 7). Here we show that the sdy mutant mouse expresses no dysbindin protein owing to a deletion in the gene Dtnbp1 (encoding dysbindin) and that mutation of the human ortholog DTNBP1 causes a novel form of HPS called HPS-7. Dysbindin is a ubiquitously expressed protein that binds to α- and β-dystrobrevins, components of the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DPC) in both muscle and nonmuscle cells8. We also show that dysbindin is a component of the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex 1 (BLOC-1; refs. 9–11), which regulates trafficking to lysosome-related organelles and includes the proteins pallidin, muted and cappuccino, which are associated with HPS in mice. These findings show that BLOC-1 is important in producing the HPS phenotype in humans, indicate that dysbindin has a role in the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles and identify unexpected interactions between components of DPC and BLOC-1.
PMCID: PMC2860733  PMID: 12923531
20.  Biglycan targets dystrobrevin, syntrophin and nNOS to the muscle cell membrane 
The dystrophin associated protein complex (DAPC) provides a linkage between the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix and is also a scaffold for a host of signaling molecules. The constituents of the DAPC must be targeted to the sarcolemma in order to properly function. Biglycan is an extracellular matrix molecule that associates with the DAPC. Here, we show that biglycan null mice exhibit a mild dystrophic phenotype and display a selective reduction in the localization of α-dystrobrevin -1 and -2, α- and β1- syntrophin, and nNOS at the sarcolemma. Purified biglycan induces nNOS redistribution to the plasma membrane in cultured muscle cells. Biglycan protein injected into muscle becomes stably associated with the sarcolemma and extracellular matrix for at least two weeks. This injected biglycan restores the sarcolemmal expression of α-dystrobrevin-1 and -2, and β1- and β2-syntrophin in biglycan null mice. We conclude that biglycan is important for the maintenance of muscle cell integrity and plays a direct role in regulating the expression and sarcolemmal localization of the intracellular signaling proteins dystrobrevin-1 and -2, α- and β1-syntrophin and nNOS.
PMCID: PMC3056440  PMID: 16807372
biglycan; dystrobrevin; dystrophin-associated protein complex; nNOS; syntrophin
21.  A PDZ-containing Scaffold Related to the Dystrophin Complex at the Basolateral Membrane of Epithelial Cells  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;145(2):391-402.
Membrane scaffolding complexes are key features of many cell types, serving as specialized links between the extracellular matrix and the actin cytoskeleton. An important scaffold in skeletal muscle is the dystrophin-associated protein complex. One of the proteins bound directly to dystrophin is syntrophin, a modular protein comprised entirely of interaction motifs, including PDZ (protein domain named for PSD-95, discs large, ZO-1) and pleckstrin homology (PH) domains. In skeletal muscle, the syntrophin PDZ domain recruits sodium channels and signaling molecules, such as neuronal nitric oxide synthase, to the dystrophin complex. In epithelia, we identified a variation of the dystrophin complex, in which syntrophin, and the dystrophin homologues, utrophin and dystrobrevin, are restricted to the basolateral membrane. We used exogenously expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged fusion proteins to determine which domains of syntrophin are responsible for its polarized localization. GFP-tagged full-length syntrophin targeted to the basolateral membrane, but individual domains remained in the cytoplasm. In contrast, the second PH domain tandemly linked to a highly conserved, COOH-terminal region was sufficient for basolateral membrane targeting and association with utrophin. The results suggest an interaction between syntrophin and utrophin that leaves the PDZ domain of syntrophin available to recruit additional proteins to the epithelial basolateral membrane. The assembly of multiprotein signaling complexes at sites of membrane specialization may be a widespread function of dystrophin-related protein complexes.
PMCID: PMC2133114  PMID: 10209032
syntrophin; utrophin; dystrobrevin; Madin-Darby canine kidney; green fluorescent protein
22.  Platelet adhesion: structural and functional diversity of short dystrophin and utrophins in the formation of dystrophin-associated-protein complexes related to actin dynamics 
Thrombosis and Haemostasis  2005;94(6):1203-1212.
Platelets are dynamic cell fragments that modify their shape during activation. Utrophin and dystrophins are minor actin-binding proteins present in muscle and non-muscle cytoskeleton. In the present study, we characterised the pattern of Dp71 isoforms and utrophin gene products by immunoblot in human platelets. Two new dystrophin isoforms were found, Dp71f and Dp71d, as well as the Up71 isoform and the dystrophin-associated proteins, α and β-dystrobrevins. Distribution of Dp71d/Dp71Δ110m, Up400/Up71 and dystrophin-associated proteins in relation to the actin cytoskeleton was evaluated by confocal microscopy in both resting and platelets adhered on glass. Formation of two dystrophin-associated protein complexes (Dp71d/Dp71Δ110m~DAPC and Up400/Up71~DAPC) was demonstrated by co-immunoprecipitation and their distribution in relation to the actin cytoskeleton was characterised during platelet adhesion. The Dp71d/Dp71Δ110m~DAPC is maintained mainly at the granulomere and is associated with dynamic structures during activation by adhesion to thrombin-coated surfaces. Participation of both Dp71d/Dp71Δ110m~DAPC and Up400/Up71~DAPC in the biological roles of the platelets is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1959514  PMID: 16411395
Blood Platelets; cytology; drug effects; metabolism; Cell Shape; Cytoskeleton; drug effects; metabolism; Dystrophin; metabolism; Dystrophin-Associated Protein Complex; metabolism; Dystrophin-Associated Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Glass; Humans; Microfilaments; metabolism; Neuropeptides; genetics; metabolism; Platelet Adhesiveness; Protein Isoforms; Pseudopodia; metabolism; RNA, Messenger; metabolism; Thrombin; pharmacology; Utrophin; metabolism
23.  Beta-synemin expression in cardiotoxin-injected rat skeletal muscle 
β-synemin was originally identified in humans as an α-dystrobrevin-binding protein through a yeast two-hybrid screen using an amino acid sequence derived from exons 1 through 16 of α-dystrobrevin, a region common to both α-dystrobrevin-1 and -2. α-Dystrobrevin-1 and -2 are both expressed in muscle and co-localization experiments have determined which isoform preferentially functions with β-synemin in vivo. The aim of our study is to show whether each α-dystrobrevin isoform has the same affinity for β-synemin or whether one of the isoforms preferentially functions with β-synemin in muscle.
The two α-dystrobrevin isoforms (-1 and -2) and β-synemin were localized in regenerating rat tibialis anterior muscle using immunoprecipitation, immunohistochemical and immunoblot analyses. Immunoprecipitation and co-localization studies for α-dystrobrevin and β-synemin were performed in regenerating muscle following cardiotoxin injection. Protein expression was then compared to that of developing rat muscle using immunoblot analysis.
With an anti-α-dystrobrevin antibody, β-synemin co-immunoprecipitated with α-dystrobrevin whereas with an anti-β-synemin antibody, α-dystrobrevin-1 (rather than the -2 isoform) preferentially co-immunoprecipitated with β-synemin. Immunohistochemical experiments show that β-synemin and α-dystrobrevin co-localize in rat skeletal muscle. In regenerating muscle, β-synemin is first expressed at the sarcolemma and in the cytoplasm at day 5 following cardiotoxin injection. Similarly, β-synemin and α-dystrobrevin-1 are detected by immunoblot analysis as weak bands by day 7. In contrast, immunoblot analysis shows that α-dystrobrevin-2 is expressed as early as 1 day post-injection in regenerating muscle. These results are similar to that of developing muscle. For example, in embryonic rats, immunoblot analysis shows that β-synemin and α-dystrobevin-1 are weakly expressed in developing lower limb muscle at 5 days post-birth, while α-dystrobrevin-2 is detectable before birth in 20-day post-fertilization embryos.
Our results clearly show that β-synemin expression correlates with that of α-dystrobrevin-1, suggesting that β-synemin preferentially functions with α-dystrobrevin-1 in vivo and that these proteins are likely to function coordinately to play a vital role in developing and regenerating muscle.
PMCID: PMC1877804  PMID: 17493272
24.  Characterization of Human Alpha-Dystrobrevin Isoforms in HL-60 Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells Undergoing Granulocytic Differentiation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(12):4195-4205.
The biochemical properties and spatial localization of the protein alpha-dystrobrevin and other isoforms were investigated in cells of the human promyelocytic leukemia line HL-60 granulocytic differentiation as induced by retinoic acid (RA). Alpha-dystrobrevin was detected both in the cytosol and the nuclei of these cells, and a short isoform (gamma-dystrobrevin) was modified by tyrosine phosphorylation soon after the onset of the RA-triggered differentiation. Varying patterns of distribution of alpha-dystrobrevin and its isoforms could be discerned in HL-60 promyelocytes, RA-differentiated mature granulocytes, and human neutrophils. Moreover, the gamma-dystrobrevin isoform was found in association with actin and myosin light chain. The results provide new information about potential involvement of alpha-dystrobrevin and its splice isoforms in signal transduction in myeloid cells during induction of granulocytic differentiation and/or at the commitment stage of differentiation or phagocytic cells.
PMCID: PMC138626  PMID: 12475945
25.  Ordered Disorder of the Astrocytic Dystrophin-Associated Protein Complex in the Norm and Pathology 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e73476.
The abundance and potential functional roles of intrinsically disordered regions in aquaporin-4, Kir4.1, a dystrophin isoforms Dp71, α-1 syntrophin, and α-dystrobrevin; i.e., proteins constituting the functional core of the astrocytic dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC), are analyzed by a wealth of computational tools. The correlation between protein intrinsic disorder, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and protein function is also studied together with the peculiarities of structural and functional conservation of these proteins. Our study revealed that the DAPC members are typical hybrid proteins that contain both ordered and intrinsically disordered regions. Both ordered and disordered regions are important for the stabilization of this complex. Many disordered binding regions of these five proteins are highly conserved among vertebrates. Conserved eukaryotic linear motifs and molecular recognition features found in the disordered regions of five protein constituting DAPC likely enhance protein-protein interactions that are required for the cellular functions of this complex. Curiously, the disorder-based binding regions are rarely affected by SNPs suggesting that these regions are crucial for the biological functions of their corresponding proteins.
PMCID: PMC3754965  PMID: 24014171

Results 1-25 (468190)