The role of defective glycosylation in congenital muscular dystrophy

Harry Schachter, Jiri Vajsar, Wenli Zhang
Glycoconjugate Journal 2004, 20 (5): 291-300
The dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC) is an assembly of proteins spanning the sarcolemma of skeletal muscle cells. Defects in the DGC appear to play critical roles in several muscular dystrophies due to disruption of basement membrane organization. O -mannosyl oligosaccharides on alpha-dystroglycan, a major extracellular component of the DGC, are essential for normal binding of alpha-dystroglycan to ligands (such as laminin) in the extracellular matrix and subsequent signal transmission to actin in the cytoskeleton of the muscle cell. Muscle-Eye-Brain disease (MEB) and Walker-Warburg Syndrome (WWS) have mutations in genes encoding glycosyltransferases needed for O -mannosyl oligosaccharide synthesis. Myodystrophic myd mice and humans with Fukuyama Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (FCMD), congenital muscular dystrophy due to defective fukutin-related protein (FKRP) and MDC1D have mutations in putative glycosyltransferases. These human congenital muscular dystrophies and the myd mouse are associated with defective glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan. It is expected other congenital muscular dystrophies will prove to have mutations in genes involved in glycosylation.

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