Expression of full-length and truncated dystrophin mini-genes in transgenic mdx mice.
Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy are caused by defects in the dystrophin gene, and are candidates for treatment by gene therapy. We have shown previously that overexpression of a full-length dystrophin cDNA prevents the development of dystrophic symptoms in mdx mice. We show here that this functional correction can be achieved by expressing the full-length muscle isoform at a lower level than is present in control animals. Gene therapy for DMD may necessitate the use of truncated dystrophin mini-genes to accommodate the limited cloning capacity of current-generation viral delivery vectors. We have constructed both murine and human mini-genes deleted for exons 17-48, and have demonstrated that expression of either mini-gene can almost completely prevent the development of dystrophic symptoms in transgenic mdx mice. These results suggest that viral-mediated expression of moderate levels of a truncated dystrophin could be an effective treatment for DMD.
Phelps, SF; Hauser, MA; Cole, NM; Rafael, JA; Hinkle, RT; Faulkner, JA; Chamberlain, JS
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