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1.  Illuminating regeneration: noninvasive imaging of disease progression in muscular dystrophy 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(5):1931-1934.
Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive muscle weakness and wasting. Among the key obstacles to the development of therapies is the absence of an assay to monitor disease progression in live animals. In this issue of the JCI, Maguire and colleagues use noninvasive bioluminescence imaging to monitor luciferase activity in mice expressing an inducible luciferase reporter gene in satellite cells. These cells proliferate in response to degeneration, therefore increasing the level of luciferase expression in dystrophic muscle.
PMCID: PMC3635748  PMID: 23619358
2.  Skeletal muscle’s 3rd year anniversary 
Skeletal Muscle  2014;4:3.
PMCID: PMC3911964  PMID: 24456943
3.  LARGE glycans on dystroglycan function as a tunable matrix scaffold to prevent dystrophy 
Nature  2013;503(7474):136-140.
The dense glycan coat that surrounds every cell is essential for cellular development and physiological function1, and it is becoming appreciated that its composition is highly dynamic. Post-translational addition of the polysaccharide repeating unit [-3-xylose-α1,3-glucuronic acid-β1-]n by like-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (LARGE) is required for the glycoprotein dystroglycan to function as a receptor for proteins in the extracellular matrix2,3. Reductions in the amount of [-3-xylose-α1,3-glucuronic acid-β1-]n (hereafter referred to as LARGE-glycan) on dystroglycan result in heterogeneous forms of muscular dystrophy4. However, neither patient nor mouse studies has revealed a clear correlation between glycosylation status and phenotype5,6. This disparity can be attributed to our lack of knowledge of the cellular function of the LARGE-glycan repeat. Here we show that coordinated upregulation of Large and dystroglycan in differentiating mouse muscle facilitates rapid extension of LARGE-glycan repeat chains. Using synthesized LARGE-glycan repeats we show a direct correlation between LARGE-glycan extension and its binding capacity for extracellular matrix ligands. Blocking Large upregulation during muscle regeneration results in the synthesis of dystroglycan with minimal LARGE-glycan repeats in association with a less compact basement membrane, immature neuromuscular junctions and dysfunctional muscle predisposed to dystrophy. This was consistent with the finding that patients with increased clinical severity of disease have fewer LARGE-glycan repeats. Our results reveal that the LARGE-glycan of dystroglycan serves as a tunable extracellular matrix protein scaffold, the extension of which is required for normal skeletal muscle function.
PMCID: PMC3891507  PMID: 24132234
4.  Binding of Lassa virus perturbs extracellular matrix-induced signal transduction via dystroglycan 
Cellular microbiology  2012;14(7):10.1111/j.1462-5822.2012.01784.x.
The arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV) causes a severe haemorrhagic fever with high mortality in man. The cellular receptor for LASV is dystroglycan (DG). DG is a ubiquitous receptor for extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, which cooperates with β1 integrins to control cell–matrix interactions. Here, we investigated whether LASV binding to DG triggers signal transduction, mimicking the natural ligands. Engagement of DG by LASV resulted in the recruitment of the adaptor protein Grb2 and the protein kinase MEK1 by the cytoplasmic domain of DG without activating the MEK/ERK pathway, indicating assembly of an inactive signalling complex. LASV binding to cells however affected the activation of the MEK/ERK pathway via α6β1 integrins. The virus-induced perturbation of α6β1 integrin signalling critically depended on high-affinity LASV binding to DG and DG’s cytoplasmic domain, indicating that LASV–receptor binding perturbed signalling cross-talk between DG and β1 integrins.
PMCID: PMC3869547  PMID: 22405130
5.  Endpoint measures in the mdx mouse relevant for muscular dystrophy pre-clinical studies 
Neuromuscular Disorders  2011;22(1):34-42.
Loss of mobility influences the quality of life for patients with neuromuscular diseases. Common measures of mobility and chronic muscle damage are the six-minute walk test and serum creatine kinase. Despite extensive pre-clinical studies of therapeutic approaches, characterization of these measures is incomplete. To address this, a six-minute ambulation assay, serum creatine kinase, and myoglobinuria were investigated for the mdx mouse, a dystrophinopathy mouse model commonly used in pre-clinical studies. Mdx mice ambulated shorter distances than normal controls, a disparity accentuated after mild exercise. An asymmetric pathophysiology in mdx mice was unmasked with exercise, and peak measurements of serum creatine kinase and myoglobinuria were identified. Our data highlights the necessity to consider asymmetric pathology and timing of biomarkers when testing potential therapies for muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3264796  PMID: 22154712
mdx; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Biomarkers; pre-clinical studies; ambulation
6.  SGK196 Is a Glycosylation-Specific O-Mannose Kinase Required for Dystroglycan Function 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;341(6148):10.1126/science.1239951.
Phosphorylated O-mannosyl trisaccharide [N-acetylgalactosamine-β3-N-acetylglucosamine-β4-(phosphate-6-)mannose] is required for dystroglycan to bind laminin-G domain-containing extracellular proteins with high affinity in muscle and brain. However, the enzymes that produce this structure have not been fully elucidated. Here we found that glycosyltransferase-like domain containing 2 (GTDC2) is a protein O-linked mannose β 1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase whose product could be extended by β 1,3-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase2 (B3GALNT2) to form the O-mannosyl trisaccharide. Furthermore, we identified SGK196 as an atypical kinase that phosphorylated the 6-position of O-mannose, specifically after the mannose had been modified by both GTDC2 and B3GALNT2. These findings suggest how mutations in GTDC2, B3GALNT2, and SGK196 disrupt dystroglycan receptor function and lead to congenital muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3848040  PMID: 23929950
7.  Dystroglycan on Radial Glia Endfeet Is Required For Pial Basement Membrane Integrity and Columnar Organization of the Developing Cerebral Cortex 
Interactions between the embryonic pial basement membrane (PBM) and radial glia (RG) are essential for morphogenesis of the cerebral cortex, as disrupted interactions cause cobblestone malformations. To elucidate the role of dystroglycan (DG) in PBM-RG interactions, we studied the expression of DG protein and Dag1 mRNA (which encodes DG protein) in developing cerebral cortex, and analyzed cortical phenotypes in Dag1 CNS conditional mutant mice. In normal embryonic cortex, Dag1 mRNA was expressed in the ventricular zone, which contains RG nuclei whereas DG protein was expressed at the cortical surface on RG endfeet. Breaches of PBM continuity appeared during early neurogenesis in Dag1 mutants. Diverse cellular elements streamed through the breaches to form leptomeningeal heterotopia that were confluent with the underlying residual cortical plate and contained variably truncated RG fibers, many types of cortical neurons, and radial and intermediate progenitor cells. Nevertheless, layer-specific molecular expression appeared normal in heterotopic neurons, and axons projected to appropriate targets. Dendrites, however, were excessively tortuous and lacked radial orientation. These findings indicate that DG is required on RG endfeet to maintain PBM integrity and suggest that cobblestone malformations involve disturbances of radial glia structure, progenitor distribution, and dendrite orientation in addition to neuronal “overmigration.”
PMCID: PMC3512206  PMID: 23147502
Dystroglycan; cerebral cortex; cobblestone malformation; lissencephaly; leptomeningeal heterotopia
8.  Cell entry of Lassa virus induces tyrosine phosphorylation of dystroglycan 
Cellular microbiology  2012;15(5):689-700.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) receptor dystroglycan (DG) serves as a cellular receptor for the highly pathogenic arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV) that causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality in man. In the host cell, DG provides a molecular link between the ECM and the actin cytoskeleton via the adapter proteins utrophin or dystrophin. Here we investigated post-translational modifications of DG in the context of LASV cell entry. Using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein, we found that tyrosine kinases are required for efficient internalization of virus particles, but not virus-receptor binding. Engagement of cellular DG by LASV envelope glycoprotein (LASV GP) in human epithelial cells induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic domain of DG. LASV GP binding to DG further resulted in dissociation of the adapter protein utrophin from virus-bound DG. This virus-induced dissociation of utrophin was affected by genistein treatment, suggesting a role of receptor tyrosine phosphorylation in the process.
PMCID: PMC3805106  PMID: 23279385
9.  Glial scaffold required for cerebellar granule cell migration is dependent on dystroglycan function as a receptor for basement membrane proteins 
Cobblestone lissencephaly is a severe neuronal migration disorder associated with congenital muscular dystrophies (CMD) such as Walker-Warburg syndrome, muscle-eye-brain disease, and Fukuyama-type CMD. In these severe forms of dystroglycanopathy, the muscular dystrophy and other tissue pathology is caused by mutations in genes involved in O-linked glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan. While cerebellar dysplasia is a common feature of dystroglycanopathy, its pathogenesis has not been thoroughly investigated.
Here we evaluate the role of dystroglycan during cerebellar development. Brain-selective deletion of dystroglycan does not affect overall cerebellar growth, yet causes malformations associated with glia limitans disruptions and granule cell heterotopia that recapitulate phenotypes found in dystroglycanopathy patients. Cerebellar pathology in these mice is not evident until birth even though dystroglycan is lost during the second week of embryogenesis. The severity and spatial distribution of glia limitans disruption, Bergmann glia disorganization, and heterotopia exacerbate during postnatal development. Astrogliosis becomes prominent at these same sites by the time cerebellar development is complete. Interestingly, there is spatial heterogeneity in the glia limitans and granule neuron migration defects that spares the tips of lobules IV-V and VI.
The full spectrum of developmental pathology is caused by loss of dystroglycan from Bergmann glia, as neither granule cell- nor Purkinje cell-specific deletion of dystroglycan results in similar pathology. These data illustrate the importance of dystroglycan function in radial/Bergmann glia, not neurons, for normal cerebellar histogenesis. The spatial heterogeneity of pathology suggests that the dependence on dystroglycan is not uniform.
PMCID: PMC3893534  PMID: 24252195
Dystroglycan; Glia; Cerebellum; Development
10.  Dystroglycan Function Requires Xylosyl- and Glucuronyltransferase Activities of LARGE 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;335(6064):93-96.
Posttranslational modification of alpha-dystroglycan (α-DG) by the like-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (LARGE) is required for it to function as an extracellular matrix (ECM) receptor. Mutations in the LARGE gene have been identified in congenital muscular dystrophy patients with brain abnormalities. However, the precise function of LARGE remains unclear. Here we found that LARGE could act as a bifunctional glycosyltransferase, with both xylosyltransferase and glucuronyltransferase activities, which produced repeating units of [–3-xylose–α1,3-glucuronic acid-β1–]. This modification allowed α-DG to bind laminin-G domain–containing ECM ligands.
PMCID: PMC3702376  PMID: 22223806
11.  Dysferlin and Muscle Membrane Repair 
Current opinion in cell biology  2007;19(4):409-416.
The ability to repair membrane damage is conserved across eukaryotic cells, and is necessary for the cells to survive a variety of physiological and pathological membrane disruptions. Membrane repair is mediated by rapid Ca2+-triggered exocytosis of various intracellular vesicles, such as lysosomes and enlargeosomes, which lead to the formation of a membrane patch that reseals the membrane lesion. Recent findings suggest a crucial role for dysferlin in this repair process in muscle, possibly as a Ca2+ sensor that triggers vesicle fusion. The importance of membrane repair is highlighted by the genetic disease, dysferlinopathy, in which the primary defect is the loss of Ca2+-regulated membrane repair due to dysferlin deficiency. Future research on dysferlin and its interacting partners will enhance the understanding of this important process, and provide novel avenues to potential therapies.
PMCID: PMC2144911  PMID: 17662592
C2 domains; cardiomyopathy; dysferlin; membrane fusion; membrane repair; muscular dystrophy
12.  Xylosyl- and glucuronyltransferase functions of LARGE in α-dystroglycan modification are conserved in LARGE2 
Glycobiology  2012;23(3):295-302.
LARGE-dependent modification enables α-dystroglycan (α-DG) to bind to its extracellular matrix ligands. Mutations in the LARGE gene and several others involved in O-mannosyl glycan synthesis have been identified in congenital and limb-girdle muscular dystrophies that are characterized by perturbed glycosylation and reduced ligand-binding affinity of α-DG. LARGE is a bifunctional glycosyltransferase that alternately transfers xylose and glucuronic acid, thereby generating the heteropolysaccharides on α-DG that confer its ligand binding. Although the LARGE paralog LARGE2 (also referred to as GYLTL1B) has likewise been shown to enhance the functional modification of α-DG in cultured cells, its enzymatic activities have not been identified. Here, we report that LARGE2 is also a bifunctional glycosyltransferase and compare its properties with those of LARGE. By means of a high-performance liquid chromatography-based enzymatic assay, we demonstrate that like LARGE, LARGE2 has xylosyltransferase (Xyl-T) and glucuronyltransferase (GlcA-T) activities, as well as polymerizing activity. Notably, however, the pH optima of the Xyl-T and GlcA-T of LARGE2 are distinct from one another and also from those of LARGE. Our results suggest that LARGE and LARGE2 catalyze the same glycosylation reactions for the functional modification of α-DG, but that they have different biochemical properties.
PMCID: PMC3555503  PMID: 23125099
dystroglycan; glucuronyltransferase; LARGE; muscular dystrophy; xylosyltransferase
13.  Prevention of cardiomyopathy in mouse models lacking the smooth muscle sarcoglycan-sarcospan complex 
Cardiomyopathy is a multifactorial disease, and the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex has been implicated in the pathogenesis of both hereditary and acquired forms of the disease. Using mouse models of cardiomyopathy made by ablating genes for components of the sarcoglycan complex, we show that long-term treatment with verapamil, a calcium channel blocker with vasodilator properties, can alleviate the severe cardiomyopathic phenotype, restoring normal serum levels for cardiac troponin I and normal cardiac muscle morphology. Interruption of verapamil treatment leads again to vascular dysfunction and acute myocardial necrosis, indicating that predilection for cardiomyopathy is a continuing process. In contrast, verapamil did not prevent cardiac muscle pathology in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, which neither show a disruption of the sarcoglycan complex in vascular smooth muscle nor vascular dysfunction. Hence, our data strongly suggest that pharmacological intervention with verapamil merits investigation as a potential therapeutic option not only for patients with sarcoglycan mutations, but also for patients with idiopathic cardiomyopathy associated with myocardial ischemia not related to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.
PMCID: PMC199179  PMID: 11160141
14.  Mouse fukutin deletion impairs dystroglycan processing and recapitulates muscular dystrophy 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(9):3330-3342.
Dystroglycan is a transmembrane glycoprotein that links the extracellular basement membrane to cytoplasmic dystrophin. Disruption of the extensive carbohydrate structure normally present on α-dystroglycan causes an array of congenital and limb girdle muscular dystrophies known as dystroglycanopathies. The essential role of dystroglycan in development has hampered elucidation of the mechanisms underlying dystroglycanopathies. Here, we developed a dystroglycanopathy mouse model using inducible or muscle-specific promoters to conditionally disrupt fukutin (Fktn), a gene required for dystroglycan processing. In conditional Fktn-KO mice, we observed a near absence of functionally glycosylated dystroglycan within 18 days of gene deletion. Twenty-week-old KO mice showed clear dystrophic histopathology and a defect in glycosylation near the dystroglycan O-mannose phosphate, whether onset of Fktn excision driven by muscle-specific promoters occurred at E8 or E17. However, the earlier gene deletion resulted in more severe phenotypes, with a faster onset of damage and weakness, reduced weight and viability, and regenerating fibers of smaller size. The dependence of phenotype severity on the developmental timing of muscle Fktn deletion supports a role for dystroglycan in muscle development or differentiation. Moreover, given that this conditional Fktn-KO mouse allows the generation of tissue- and timing-specific defects in dystroglycan glycosylation, avoids embryonic lethality, and produces a phenotype resembling patient pathology, it is a promising new model for the study of secondary dystroglycanopathy.
PMCID: PMC3428090  PMID: 22922256
15.  Membrane Targeting and Stabilization of Sarcospan Is Mediated by the Sarcoglycan Subcomplex  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;145(1):153-165.
The dystrophin–glycoprotein complex (DGC) is a multisubunit complex that spans the muscle plasma membrane and forms a link between the F-actin cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. The proteins of the DGC are structurally organized into distinct subcomplexes, and genetic mutations in many individual components are manifested as muscular dystrophy. We recently identified a unique tetraspan-like dystrophin-associated protein, which we have named sarcospan (SPN) for its multiple sarcolemma spanning domains (Crosbie, R.H., J. Heighway, D.P. Venzke, J.C. Lee, and K.P. Campbell. 1997. J. Biol. Chem. 272:31221–31224). To probe molecular associations of SPN within the DGC, we investigated SPN expression in normal muscle as a baseline for comparison to SPN's expression in animal models of muscular dystrophy. We show that, in addition to its sarcolemma localization, SPN is enriched at the myotendinous junction (MTJ) and neuromuscular junction (NMJ), where it is a component of both the dystrophin– and utrophin–glycoprotein complexes. We demonstrate that SPN is preferentially associated with the sarcoglycan (SG) subcomplex, and this interaction is critical for stable localization of SPN to the sarcolemma, NMJ, and MTJ. Our experiments indicate that assembly of the SG subcomplex is a prerequisite for targeting SPN to the sarcolemma. In addition, the SG– SPN subcomplex functions to stabilize α-dystroglycan to the muscle plasma membrane. Taken together, our data provide important information about assembly and function of the SG–SPN subcomplex.
PMCID: PMC2148225  PMID: 10189375
sarcospan; dystrophin; sarcoglycans; tetraspans; muscular dystrophy
16.  Anti-Epileptic Drugs Delay Age-Related Loss of Spiral Ganglion Neurons via T-type Calcium Channel 
Hearing research  2011;278(1-2):106-112.
Loss of spiral ganglion neurons is a major cause of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Despite being the third most prevalent condition afflicting elderly persons, there are no known medications to prevent presbycusis. Because calcium signaling has long been implicated in age-related neuronal death, we investigated T-type calcium channels. This family is comprised of three members (Cav3.1, Cav3.2, and Cav3.3), based on their respective main pore-forming alpha subunits: α1G, α1H, and α1I. In the present study, we report a significant delay of age-related loss of cochlear function and preservation of spiral ganglion neurons in α1H null and heterozygous mice, clearly demonstrating an important role for Cav3.2 in age-related neuronal loss. Furthermore, we show that anticonvulsant drugs from a family of T-type calcium channel blockers can significantly preserve spiral ganglion neurons during aging. To our knowledge, this is the first report of drugs capable of diminishing age-related loss of spiral ganglion neurons.
PMCID: PMC3152691  PMID: 21640179
Presbycusis; Spiral ganglion neuron; Hair cell; Anti-epileptic drug; Aging
17.  Evidence for a role of dystroglycan regulating the membrane architecture of astroglial endfeet 
The European Journal of Neuroscience  2011;33(12):2179-2186.
The dystrophin-dystroglycan complex (DDC) is a molecular array of proteins in muscle and brain cells. The central component of the DDC is dystroglycan which is comprised of α- and β-subunits. α-Dystroglycan (α-DG) binds to extracellular matrix components such as agrin, whereas β-dystroglycan (β-DG) is a membrane-spanning protein linking α-DG to the cytoskeleton and other intracellular components such as α-syntrophin. In astrocytes, α-syntrophin binds to the water channel protein aquaporin-4 (AQP4). Recently, it has been shown that AQP4 expression is unaltered in agrin-knockout mice, but that formation of the orthogonal arrays of particles (OAPs), consisting of AQP4, is abnormal. Since the brain-selective deletion of the dystroglycan gene causes a disorganization of the astroglial endfeet, we asked whether DG deletion has an impact on AQP4. By Western blotting, we found a reduction of AQP4 in the parenchymal, but not in the superficial compartment of the astrocyte-conditioned DG-knockout mouse brain. Accordingly, immunohistochemical stainings of AQP4 revealed a selective loss of AQP4 in perivascular, but not in superficial astroglial endfeet. In both superficial and perivascular endfeet of the DG-knockout brain, we observed a loss of OAPs. We conclude that in the absence of DG the majority of superficial AQP4 molecules did not form OAPs, and that the AQP4 expression in perivascular endfeet is compromised. However, the decreased number of perivascular AQP4 molecules obviously did form a few OAPs, even in the absence of DG.
PMCID: PMC3342013  PMID: 21501259
astrocytes; blood-brain barrier; freeze-fracturing; orthogonal arrays of particles; aquaporin-4
18.  Two separate Ni2+-sensitive voltage-gated Ca2+ channels modulate transretinal signalling in the isolated murine retina 
Acta ophthalmologica  2011;89(7):e579-e590.
Light-evoked responses from vertebrate retinas were recorded as an electroretinogram (ERG). The b-wave is the most prominent component of the ERG, and in the bovine retina its NiCl2 sensitive component was attributed to reciprocal signalling by pharmacoresistant R-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, which similar as other voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels trigger and control neurotransmitter release. The murine retina has the great advantage that the effect of gene inactivation for Ni2+-sensitive Ca2+ channels can be analysed to prove or disprove, that any of these Ca2+ channels is involved in retinal signalling.
Superfused retinas from different murine genotypes lacking either one or both highly Ni2+-sensitive voltage-gated Ca2+ channels were used to record their ex vivo ERGs.
The isolated retinas from mice lacking Cav2.3 R-type, or Cav3.2 T-type or both voltage-gated Ca2+ channels were superfused with a NiCl2 (15 μM) containing nutrient solution. The change in the b-wave amplitude and implicit time, caused by NiCl2, was calculated as a difference spectrum and compared to data from control animals. From the results it can be deduced that Cav2.3 contributes rather to a later component in the b-wave response, while in the absence of Cav3.2 the gain of Ni2+-mediated increase of the b-wave amplitude is significantly increased, probably due to a loss of reciprocal inhibition to photoreceptors. Thus, each of the Ni2+-sensitive Ca2+ channels contributes to specific features of the b-wave response.
Both high affinity Ni2+-sensitive Ca2+ channels contribute to transretinal signalling. Based on the results from the double knockout mice, additional targets for NiCl2 must contribute to transretinal signalling, which will be most important for the structurally similar physiologically more important heavy metal cation Zn2+.
PMCID: PMC3274955  PMID: 21883984
Pharmacoresistant; R-type; T-type; adaptation; isolated retina; feedback control
19.  The unfolded protein response mediates adaptation to exercise in skeletal muscle through a PGC-1α /ATF6α complex 
Cell metabolism  2011;13(2):160-169.
Exercise has been shown to be effective for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, the molecular mechanisms for adaptation to exercise training are not fully understood. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been linked to metabolic dysfunction. Here we show that the unfolded protein response (UPR), an adaptive response pathway that maintains ER homeostasis upon luminal stress, is activated in skeletal muscle during exercise and adapts skeletal muscle to exercise training. The transcriptional coactivator PGC-1α, which regulates several exercise-associated aspects of skeletal muscle function, mediates the UPR in myotubes and skeletal muscle through coactivation of ATF6α. Efficient recovery from acute exercise is compromised in ATF6α−/− mice. Blocking ER-stress related cell death via deletion of CHOP partially rescues the exercise intolerance phenotype in muscle-specific PGC-1α KO mice. These findings suggest that modulation of the UPR through PGC1α represents an alternative avenue to improve skeletal muscle function and achieve metabolic benefits.
PMCID: PMC3057411  PMID: 21284983
20.  Dystrophin deficiency exacerbates skeletal muscle pathology in dysferlin-null mice 
Skeletal Muscle  2011;1:35.
Mutations in the genes coding for either dystrophin or dysferlin cause distinct forms of muscular dystrophy. Dystrophin links the cytoskeleton to the sarcolemma through direct interaction with β-dystroglycan. This link extends to the extracellular matrix by β-dystroglycan's interaction with α-dystroglycan, which binds extracellular matrix proteins, including laminin α2, agrin and perlecan, that possess laminin globular domains. The absence of dystrophin disrupts this link, leading to compromised muscle sarcolemmal integrity. Dysferlin, on the other hand, plays an important role in the Ca2+-dependent membrane repair of damaged sarcolemma in skeletal muscle. Because dysferlin and dystrophin play different roles in maintaining muscle cell integrity, we hypothesized that disrupting sarcolemmal integrity with dystrophin deficiency would exacerbate the pathology in dysferlin-null mice and allow further characterization of the role of dysferlin in skeletal muscle.
To test our hypothesis, we generated dystrophin/dysferlin double-knockout (DKO) mice by breeding mdx mice with dysferlin-null mice and analyzed the effects of a combined deficiency of dysferlin and dystrophin on muscle pathology and sarcolemmal integrity.
The DKO mice exhibited more severe muscle pathology than either mdx mice or dysferlin-null mice, and, importantly, the onset of the muscle pathology occurred much earlier than it did in dysferlin-deficient mice. The DKO mice showed muscle pathology of various skeletal muscles, including the mandible muscles, as well as a greater number of regenerating muscle fibers, higher serum creatine kinase levels and elevated Evans blue dye uptake into skeletal muscles. Lengthening contractions caused similar force deficits, regardless of dysferlin expression. However, the rate of force recovery within 45 minutes following lengthening contractions was hampered in DKO muscles compared to mdx muscles or dysferlin-null muscles, suggesting that dysferlin is required for the initial recovery from lengthening contraction-induced muscle injury of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex-compromised muscles.
The results of our study suggest that dysferlin-mediated membrane repair helps to limit the dystrophic changes in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle. Dystrophin deficiency unmasks the function of dysferlin in membrane repair during lengthening contractions. Dystrophin/dysferlin-deficient mice provide a very useful model with which to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies designed to treat dysferlin deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3287108  PMID: 22132688
dysferlin; dystrophin; membrane repair; sarcolemmal integrity
21.  Decoding Arenavirus Pathogenesis: Essential Roles for Alpha-Dystroglycan-Virus Interactions and the Immune Response 
Virology  2010;411(2):170-179.
Pathogenesis following a virus infection results from interactions between the virus and its host. The outcome is determined by tipping the balance between virulence of the virus or susceptibility/resistance of the host to favor one or the other. This review focuses on two important members of the Old World arenavirus family: Lassa fever virus (LFV), a robust human pathogen that causes a severe acute hemorrhagic disease; and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), also a human pathogen but better known in the context of its rodent model. Research with this model has uncovered and illuminated many of our current concepts in immunobiology and viral pathogenesis. Presented here are recent advances that form the framework for a better understanding of how viruses induce and maintain persistent infection as well as for the pathogenesis associated with acute LFV infection. A major component for understanding the pathogenesis of these arenaviruses revolves around study of the interaction of virus with its receptor, alpha-dystroglycan (α-DG).
PMCID: PMC3071849  PMID: 21185048
alpha-dystroglycan; LARGE; lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; Lassa fever virus; molecular pathogenesis
22.  Combined deficiency of alpha and epsilon sarcoglycan disrupts the cardiac dystrophin complex 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(23):4644-4654.
Cardiomyopathy is a puzzling complication in addition to skeletal muscle pathology for patients with mutations in β-, γ- or δ-sarcoglycan (SG) genes. Patients with mutations in α-SG rarely have associated cardiomyopathy, or their cardiac pathology is very mild. We hypothesize that a fifth SG, ɛ-SG, may compensate for α-SG deficiency in the heart. To investigate the function of ɛ-SG in striated muscle, we generated an Sgce-null mouse and a Sgca-;Sgce-null mouse, which lacks both α- and ɛ-SGs. While Sgce-null mice showed a wild-type phenotype, with no signs of muscular dystrophy or heart disease, the Sgca-;Sgce-null mouse developed a progressive muscular dystrophy and a more anticipated and severe cardiomyopathy. It shows a complete loss of residual SGs and a strong reduction in both dystrophin and dystroglycan. Our data indicate that ɛ-SG is important in preventing cardiomyopathy in α-SG deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3209833  PMID: 21890494
24.  Exercise-Induced Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction in Women Heterozygous for Dystrophinopathy 
Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding dystrophin cause skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases in men. Female “carriers” also can develop overt disease. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of cardiac contractile abnormalities in dystrophinopathy carriers.
Twenty-four dystrophinopathy heterozygotes and 24 normal women each underwent standard exercise stress echocardiography.
Heterozygotes demonstrated mildly lower left ventricular ejection fractions (LVEFs) at rest compared with controls (0.56 ± 0.10 vs 0.62 ± 0.07, P = .02). After exercise, the mean LVEF fell to 0.53 ± 0.14 in heterozygotes but rose to 0.73 ± 0.07 in controls (P < .001). Twenty-one of 24 dystrophinopathy heterozygotes demonstrated ≥1 of the following: abnormal resting LVEF, abnormal LVEF response to exercise, or exercise-induced wall motion abnormality.
Women heterozygous for dystrophinopathy demonstrate significant left ventricular systolic dysfunction, which is unmasked by exercise. This finding has mechanistic implications for both inherited and acquired cardiac disease states.
PMCID: PMC3156088  PMID: 20646909
Cardiomyopathy; Women; Exercise; Heart failure; Echocardiography
25.  Sarcolemmal-restricted localization of functional ClC-1 channels in mouse skeletal muscle 
The Journal of General Physiology  2010;136(6):597-613.
Skeletal muscle fibers exhibit a high resting chloride conductance primarily determined by ClC-1 chloride channels that stabilize the resting membrane potential during repetitive stimulation. Although the importance of ClC-1 channel activity in maintaining normal muscle excitability is well appreciated, the subcellular location of this conductance remains highly controversial. Using a three-pronged multidisciplinary approach, we determined the location of functional ClC-1 channels in adult mouse skeletal muscle. First, formamide-induced detubulation of single flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscle fibers from 15–16-day-old mice did not significantly alter macroscopic ClC-1 current magnitude (at −140 mV; −39.0 ± 4.5 and −42.3 ± 5.0 nA, respectively), deactivation kinetics, or voltage dependence of channel activation (V1/2 was −61.0 ± 1.7 and −64.5 ± 2.8 mV; k was 20.5 ± 0.8 and 22.8 ± 1.2 mV, respectively), despite a 33% reduction in cell capacitance (from 465 ± 36 to 312 ± 23 pF). In paired whole cell voltage clamp experiments, where ClC-1 activity was measured before and after detubulation in the same fiber, no reduction in ClC-1 activity was observed, despite an ∼40 and 60% reduction in membrane capacitance in FDB fibers from 15–16-day-old and adult mice, respectively. Second, using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, native ClC-1 channels in adult mouse FDB fibers were localized within the sarcolemma, 90° out of phase with double rows of dihydropyridine receptor immunostaining of the T-tubule system. Third, adenoviral-mediated expression of green fluorescent protein–tagged ClC-1 channels in adult skeletal muscle of a mouse model of myotonic dystrophy type 1 resulted in a significant reduction in myotonia and localization of channels to the sarcolemma. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the majority of functional ClC-1 channels localize to the sarcolemma and provide essential insight into the basis of myofiber excitability in normal and diseased skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC2995150  PMID: 21078869

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