Author(s): Ueyama M, Akimoto Y, Ichimiya T, Ueda R, Kawakami H,
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Abstract Walker-Warburg syndrome, a progressive muscular dystrophy, is a severe disease with various kinds of symptoms such as muscle weakness and occasional seizures. The genes of protein O-mannosyltransferases 1 and 2 (POMT1 and POMT2), fukutin, and fukutin-related protein are responsible for this syndrome. In our previous study, we cloned Drosophila orthologs of human POMT1 and POMT2 and identified their activity. However, the mechanism of onset of this syndrome is not well understood. Furthermore, little is known about the behavioral properties of the Drosophila POMT1 and POMT2 mutants, which are called rotated abdomen (rt) and twisted (tw), respectively. First, we performed various kinds of behavioral tests and described in detail the muscle structures by using these mutants. The mutant flies exhibited abnormalities in heavy exercises such as climbing or flight but not in light movements such as locomotion. Defective motor function in mutants appeared immediately after eclosion and was exaggerated with aging. Along with motor function, muscle ultrastructure in the tw mutant was altered, as seen in human patients. We demonstrated that expression of RNA interference (RNAi) for the rt gene and the tw mutant was almost completely lethal and semi-lethal, respectively. Flies expressing RNAi had reduced lifespans. These findings clearly demonstrate that Drosophila POMT mutants are models for human muscular dystrophy. We then observed a high density of myoblasts with an enhanced degree of apoptosis in the tw mutant, which completely lost enzymatic activity. In this paper, we propose a novel mechanism for the development of muscular dystrophy: POMT mutation causes high myoblast density and position derangement, which result in apoptosis, muscle disorganization, and muscle cell defects.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy