Abstract Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystemic disease resulting in severe muscle weakening and wasting. DM1 is caused by expansion of CTG repeats in the 3’-UTR of the DMPK gene. We have developed an inducible, skeletal muscle-specific mouse model of DM1 (CUG960) that expresses 960 CUG repeats in the context of human DMPK exons 11-15. CUG960 RNA-expressing mice induced at PN1, as well as adult-onset animals, show clear, measurable muscle wasting accompanied by severe histological defects including central myonuclei, reduced fiber cross sectional area, increased percentage of oxidative myofibers, and the presence of nuclear RNA foci that colocalize with Mbnl1 protein. Importantly, muscle loss, histological abnormalities, and RNA foci are reversible, demonstrating recovery upon removal of toxic RNA. RNA-seq and protein array analysis indicate that the balance between anabolic and catabolic pathways that normally regulate muscle mass may be disrupted by deregulation of PDGFRβ receptor signaling and the PI3K/AKT pathways, along with prolonged activation of AMPKα signaling. Similar changes were detected in DM1 skeletal muscle compared to unaffected controls. The mouse model presented in this paper shows progressive skeletal muscle wasting and has been used to identify potential molecular mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle loss. The reversibility of the phenotype establishes a baseline response for testing therapeutic approaches. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Human Molecular Genetics – Oxford University Press
Published: May 16, 2018
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