Journal Article

Myotonic dystrophy, when simple repeats reveal complex pathogenic entities: new findings and future challenges

Géraldine Sicot, Geneviève Gourdon and Mário Gomes-Pereira

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 20, issue R2, pages R116-R123
Published in print October 2011 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddr343
Myotonic dystrophy, when simple repeats reveal complex pathogenic entities: new findings and future challenges

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Expanded, non-coding RNAs can exhibit a deleterious gain-of-function causing human disease through abnormal interactions with RNA-binding proteins. Myotonic dystrophy (DM), the prototypical example of an RNA-dominant disorder, is mediated by trinucleotide repeat-containing transcripts that deregulate alternative splicing. Spliceopathy has therefore been a major focus of DM research. However, changes in gene expression, protein translation and micro-RNA metabolism may also contribute to disease pathology. The exciting finding of bidirectional transcription and non-conventional RNA translation of trinucleotide repeat sequences points to a new scenario, in which DM is not mediated by one single expanded RNA transcript, but involves multiple pathogenic elements and pathways. The study of the growing number of human diseases associated with toxic repeat-containing transcripts provides important insight into the understanding of the complex pathways of RNA toxicity. This review describes some of the recent advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind DM and other RNA-dominant disorders.

Journal Article.  4853 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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