Perspective: Spectrin-like repeats in dystrophin have unique binding preferences for syntrophin adaptors that explain the mystery of how nNOSμ localizes to the sarcolemma

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Abstract

Dystrophin is a massive multi-domain protein composed of specialized amino and carboxyl termini that are separated by 24 spectrin-like repeats. Dystrophin performs critical structural and signaling roles that are indispensable for the functional integrity of skeletal muscle. Indeed, the loss of dystrophin protein expression causes the muscle wasting disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Substantial progress has been made in defining the functions of the domains of dystrophin, which has proven invaluable for the development of miniaturized dystrophin gene and exon skipping therapies for DMD. However, a long-standing mystery regarding dystrophin function is how dystrophin, and its adaptor and neuronal nitric oxide synthase mu (nNOSμ) binding partner α-syntrophin, cooperate to localize nNOSμ to the sarcolemma. Only when localized to the sarcolemma can nNOSμ override sympathetic vasoconstriction and prevent functional ischemia in contracting muscles. Current evidence suggests that spectrin-like repeat 17 of dystrophin and α-syntrophin cooperate to localize nNOSμ to the sarcolemma. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear and controversial because of equivocal evidence for direct binding of dystrophin and nNOSμ. Recently, an important study identified a novel α-syntrophin binding site within spectrin-like repeat 17, leading to a new model whereby α-syntrophin recruits nNOSμ to the sarcolemmal dystrophin complex by binding spectrin-like repeat 17. This model finally appears to solve the mystery of the dual requirement for dystrophin and α-syntrophin for sarcolemmal nNOSμ localization. The aim of the current perspective is to highlight this major advance in understanding of dystrophin’s role in localizing nNOSμ and its implications for current trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1369
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume9
Issue numberOCT
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2018

Keywords

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Dystrophin
  • NNOS
  • Spectrin-like repeat
  • Syntrophin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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