Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) are devastating disorders. Both are associated with mutations in the dystrophin gene, a huge gene with 79 exons spread over 2.4 million bases of genomic sequence. Deletions of large portions of the gene account for around 60% of all dystrophin mutations. The remainder consist of point mutations (primarily premature stop codon mutations), small deletions resulting in shift of the reading frame, and (in less than 5%) duplications. We have developed the methodology to rapidly, robustly, and economically perform direct sequence analysis of the entire coding and regulatory regions of the dystrophin gene, greatly expediting the characterization of mutations in non-deleted dystrophinopathy patients. Using this methodology, we propose to characterize the mutations responsible for DMD and BMD in a large cohort of patients, from whom a standardized and thorough phenotypic characterization will be obtained. Phenotype/genotype information will be compiled in a dystrophinopathy registry/database. In addition to correlation of the genotype to the phenotype, we will determine the effect that specific mutations have on mRNA processing and translation, and the relationship of both the mutations context and its resultant molecular profile to disease phenotype. Finally, we will test the hypothesis that specific missense mutations imply the presence of as-yet uncharacterized dystrophin binding partners. Our catalogue of patient mutations will identify molecular pathways which influence disease pathogenesis, and may suggest novel targets for treatment. Although we do not propose to perform treatment trials at present, this proposed study will identify cohorts of patients who may be candidates for any future trials here or at other institutions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Physiology Study Section (SMEP)
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Porter, John D
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Nationwide Children's Hospital
United States
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