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Mutations in genes that modify DNA packaging result in Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy
Date:11/11/2012

t the usual FSHD-disease causing DNA deletion but who still lacked repression of the DUX4 code reading.

Dr. Rabi Tawil at the University of Rochester made the clinical diagnosis in these people and established cultures of muscle cells from biopsies. Dr. Richard Lemmers working in van der Maarel's laboratory demonstrated that the chromatin structure was relaxed despite a normal number of repeat units on chromosome 4. With the help of Dr. Michael Bamshad, UW professor of pediatrics, and Dr. Deborah Nickerson, UW professor of genome sciences, Miller and his group sequenced and analyzed the protein coding portions of the genomes of individuals with FSHD caused by this uncommon mechanism.

The researchers discovered that these individuals had causative mutations in the Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes Hinge Domain 1 gene. Mutations in this gene cause decreased levels of the SMCHD1 protein and result in relaxation of the chromatin structure surrounding the muscle cells' DNA allowing toxic DUX4 to be generated.

"The discovery linking mutations in the SMCHD1 gene with FSHD is particularly satisfying," Miller said, 'because the normal form of SMCHD1 has an established role in repressing the reading of portions of the DNA code. SMCHD1 Is involved in silencing one of the two X chromosomes in females and in turning off repetitive elements in other parts of the genome.

Understanding the FSHD-causing mechanism of SMCHD1 mutations, Miller said, suggests ideas for therapeutic strategies to suppress the production of the muscle-damaging DUX4 and for treatments for the more common forms of FSHD.


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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@uw.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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