Effects of Dystrophin Isoforms on Signal Transduction through Neural Retina: Genotype–Phenotype Analysis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Mouse Mutants
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Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy patients have mutations in the dystrophin gene. Most show reduced b-wave amplitudes in the dark-adapted electroretinogram (ERG). We studied normal C57BL/6J mice and five X-linked muscular dystrophy strains with different dystrophin mutations to determine whether the location of the mutation within the gene affects the mouse ERG and to correlate such effects with dystrophin isoform expression. Amplitudes and implicit times were measured for a-waves, b-waves, and digitally filtered oscillatory potentials. mdx and mdxCv5 mice, with mutations near the amino terminus and lacking expression of Dp427, had ERGs similar to those of C57BL/6J mice. mdxCv2 and mdxCv4 mice, with mutations in the center of dystrophin and who do not express isoforms Dp427, Dp260, or Dp140 (mdxCv4), had increased b-wave and oscillatory potential implicit times. mdxCv3 mice, with a mutation near the carboxy terminus resulting in deficiency of all dystrophin isoforms, had increased b-wave and oscillatory potential implicit times and reduced scotopic b-wave amplitudes. Fitting the a-wave data to a transduction activation phase mathematical model showed normal responses for all phenotypes, suggesting that the b-wave delays are due to defects beyond the rod outer segment, most likely at the rod to on-bipolar cell synapse. The variation in the ERG phenotype with the position of the dystrophin gene mutation suggests that there are different contributions by each isoform to retinal electrophysiology. Although Dp427 and Dp140 isoforms do not appear to be important contributors to the ERG, lack of Dp260 and possibly Dp71 isoforms is associated with an abnormal ERG.
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