Loss of full-length dystrophin expression results in major cell-autonomous abnormalities in proliferating myoblasts

Maxime R.F. Gosselin, Virginie Mournetas, Malgorzata Borczyk, Suraj Verma, Annalisa Occhipinti, Justyna Róg, Lukasz Bozycki, Michal Korostynski, Samuel C. Robson, Claudio Angione, Christian Pinset, Dariusz C. Gorecki*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) affects myofibers and muscle stem cells, causing progressive muscle degeneration and repair defects. It was unknown whether dystrophic myoblasts—the effector cells of muscle growth and regeneration—are affected. Using transcriptomic, genome-scale metabolic modelling and functional analyses, we demonstrate, for the first time, convergent abnormalities in primary mouse and human dystrophic myoblasts. In Dmdmdx myoblasts lacking full-length dystrophin, the expression of 170 genes was significantly altered. Myod1 and key genes controlled by MyoD (Myog, Mymk, Mymx, epigenetic regulators, ECM interactors, calcium signalling and fibrosis genes) were significantly downregulated. Gene ontology analysis indicated enrichment in genes involved in muscle development and function. Functionally, we found increased myoblast proliferation, reduced chemotaxis and accelerated differentiation, which are all essential for myoregeneration. The defects were caused by the loss of expression of full-length dystrophin, as similar and not exacerbated alterations were observed in dystrophin-null Dmdmdx-βgeo myoblasts. Corresponding abnormalities were identified in human DMD primary myoblasts and a dystrophic mouse muscle cell line, confirming the cross-species and cell-autonomous nature of these defects. The genome-scale metabolic analysis in human DMD myoblasts showed alterations in the rate of glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, leukotriene metabolism, and mitochondrial beta-oxidation of various fatty acids. These results reveal the disease continuum: DMD defects in satellite cells, the myoblast dysfunction affecting muscle regeneration, which is insufficient to counteract muscle loss due to myofiber instability. Contrary to the established belief, our data demonstrate that DMD abnormalities occur in myoblasts, making these cells a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of this lethal disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75521
Number of pages43
JournaleLife
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2022

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