Neuromuscul Disord 2003 Feb;13(2):143-50
MyoContract Ltd, Hammerstrasse 25, CH-4410, Liestal, Switzerland.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an X-linked genetic disease caused by the absence of functional dystrophin. Pharmacological upregulation of utrophin, the autosomal homologue of dystrophin, offers a potential therapeutic approach to treat Duchenne patients. Full-length utrophin mRNA is transcribed from two alternative promoters, called A and B. In contrast to the utrophin promoter A, little is known about the factors regulating the activity of the utrophin promoter B. Computer analysis of this second promoter revealed the presence of several conserved binding motives for Ets-transcription factors. Using electrotransfer of cDNA into mouse muscles, we demonstrate that a genetically modified beta-subunit of the Ets-transcription factor GA-binding protein potently activates a utrophin promoter B reporter construct in innervated muscle fibers in vivo. These results make the GA-binding protein and the signaling cascade regulating its activity in muscle cells, potential targets for the pharmacological modulation of utrophin expression in Duchenne patients.