Background. In a systematic analysis of inherited forms of cardiomyopathy, we previously identified a family with X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy characterised by a mutation in the rod region of dystrophin. We have now attempted to eludicate the genetic mechanism involved in this disease, as well as the role of dystrophin-associated glycoproteins. Methods. The affected dystrophin epitope, which lacks binding to the dys-1 antibody, was analysed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, reverse-transcription PCR, and DNA sequencing. Effects on dystrophin-associated glycoproteins were studied by immunohistochemistry and western blotting. Findings. A translation-termination mutation (C4148T) in exon 29 of the dystrophin gene was found in all affected family members. Alternative splicing rescued the reading frame and led to the expression of a dystrophin molecule lacking 50 aminoacids both in cardiac and skeletal muscle. Immunohistochemical analysis of the dystrophin-associated proteins revealed a reduction of β-sarcoglycan and δ-sarcoglycan in the sarcolemma of cardiac muscle but not skeletal muscle tissue. However, western blotting revealed similar amounts of sarcoglycan subunits in both tissues. Interpretation. The molecular mechanism of this subtype of X-linked cardiomyopathy may be explained by a conformational change in exon-29-deleted dystrophin, resulting in disruption of the sarcoglycan assembly in heart muscle but not skeletal muscle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas