Genetic manipulation of dysferlin expression in skeletal muscle: Novel insights into muscular dystrophy

Douglas P. Millay, Marjorie Maillet, Joseph A. Roche, Michelle A. Sargent, Elizabeth M. McNally, Robert J. Bloch, Jeffery D. Molkentin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Mutations in the gene DYSF, which codes for the protein dysferlin, underlie Miyoshi myopathy and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2B in humans and produce a slowly progressing skeletal muscle degenerative disease in mice. Dysferlin is a Ca2+-sensing, regulatory protein that is involved in membrane repair after injury. To assess the function of dysferlin in healthy and dystrophic skeletal muscle, we generated skeletal muscle-specific transgenic mice with three-fold overexpression of this protein. These mice were phenotypically indistinguishable from wild-type, and more importantly, the transgene completely rescued the muscular dystrophy (MD) disease in Dysf-null A/J mice. The dysferlin transgene rescued all histopathology and macrophage infiltration in skeletal muscle of Dysf-/- A/J mice, as well as promoted the rapid recovery of muscle function after forced lengthening contractions. These results indicate that MD in A/J mice is autonomous to skeletal muscle and not initiated by any other cell type. However, overexpression of dysferlin did not improve dystrophic symptoms or membrane instability in the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex-lacking Scgd (δ-sarcoglycan) null mouse, indicating that dysferlin functionality is not a limiting factor underlying membrane repair in other models of MD. In summary, the restoration of dysferlin in skeletal muscle fibers is sufficient to rescue the MD in Dysfdeficient mice, although its mild overexpression does not appear to functionally enhance membrane repair in other models of MD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1817-1823
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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