Somatic Mosaicism for Duchenne Dystrophy: Evidence for Genetic Normalization Mitigating Muscle Symptoms

Research Center for Genetic Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia 20010, USA.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A (Impact Factor: 2.16). 07/2009; 149A(7):1499-503. DOI: 10.1002/ajmg.a.32891
Source: PubMed


We describe a young adult male presenting with cardiac failure necessitating cardiac transplantation 7 months after presentation. Skeletal muscle biopsy showed mosaic immunostaining for dystrophin. DNA studies showed somatic mosaicism for a nonsense mutation in the dystrophin gene (Arg2905X). The frequency of normal versus mutant genes were determined in blood/DNA (50:50), muscle/DNA (80:20) and muscle/mRNA (90:10). These data are consistent with genetic normalization processes that may biochemically rescue skeletal muscle in male somatic mosaic patients mitigating muscle symptoms (gradual loss of dystrophin-negative skeletal muscle tissue replaced by dystrophin-positive stem cells). To our knowledge, this is only the second reported case of a clinically ascertained patient showing somatic mosaicism for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We hypothesize that many somatic mosaic males for DMD exist, yet they are not detected clinically due to genetic normalization. Somatic mosaicism for DMD should be considered in acute heart failure with dilated cardiomyopathy, as genetic normalization in heart is unlikely to occur.

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Available from: Akanchha Kesari, May 20, 2014
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    • "Several mechanisms have been associated with the production of dystrophin in nonsense/frameshift mutations, ameliorating the clinical phenotype. These include alternative translation initiation in 5′ end mutations [43], [44], escape of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) in mutations located in or beyond exon 74 [45] and somatic mosaicism [25], [46], [47]. However, the most reported mechanism is the skipping of the mutated exon, producing significant amounts of in-frame transcripts. "
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    ABSTRACT: DMD nonsense and frameshift mutations lead to severe Duchenne muscular dystrophy while in-frame mutations lead to milder Becker muscular dystrophy. Exceptions are found in 10% of cases and the production of alternatively spliced transcripts is considered a key modifier of disease severity. Several exonic mutations have been shown to induce exon-skipping, while splice site mutations result in exon-skipping or activation of cryptic splice sites. However, factors determining the splicing pathway are still unclear. Point mutations provide valuable information regarding the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing and elements defining exon identity in the DMD gene. Here we provide a comprehensive analysis of 98 point mutations related to clinical phenotype and their effect on muscle mRNA and dystrophin expression. Aberrant splicing was found in 27 mutations due to alteration of splice sites or splicing regulatory elements. Bioinformatics analysis was performed to test the ability of the available algorithms to predict consequences on mRNA and to investigate the major factors that determine the splicing pathway in mutations affecting splicing signals. Our findings suggest that the splicing pathway is highly dependent on the interplay between splice site strength and density of regulatory elements.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "As previously described [6,23], in most cases XCI profile in muscle differed significantly from that found in blood. This could reflect a biochemical and genetic normalization process in skeletal muscle [25,37,38], or tissue-specific differences in XCI or in the methylation status of the AR gene. In keeping with the latter hypothesis, in subject #3 the preferential expression of the DMD mutated allele correlated with the XCI ratio in blood but not with that in muscle (Figure  2). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Between 8% and 22% of female carriers of DMD mutations exhibit clinical symptoms of variable severity. Development of symptoms in DMD mutation carriers without chromosomal rearrangements has been attributed to skewed X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) favouring predominant expression of the DMD mutant allele. However the prognostic use of XCI analysis is controversial. We aimed to evaluate the correlation between X-chromosome inactivation and development of clinical symptoms in a series of symptomatic female carriers of dystrophinopathy. Methods We reviewed the clinical, pathological and genetic features of twenty-four symptomatic carriers covering a wide spectrum of clinical phenotypes. DMD gene analysis was performed using MLPA and whole gene sequencing in blood DNA and muscle cDNA. Blood and muscle DNA was used for X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) analysis thought the AR methylation assay in symptomatic carriers and their female relatives, asymptomatic carriers as well as non-carrier females. Results Symptomatic carriers exhibited 49.2% more skewed XCI profiles than asymptomatic carriers. The extent of XCI skewing in blood tended to increase in line with the severity of muscle symptoms. Skewed XCI patterns were found in at least one first-degree female relative in 78.6% of symptomatic carrier families. No mutations altering XCI in the XIST gene promoter were found. Conclusions Skewed XCI is in many cases familial inherited. The extent of XCI skewing is related to phenotype severity. However, the assessment of XCI by means of the AR methylation assay has a poor prognostic value, probably because the methylation status of the AR gene in muscle may not reflect in all cases the methylation status of the DMD gene.
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