Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystem neuromuscular disease caused by a CTG triplet expansion in the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of DMPK gene. This CTG array is usually uninterrupted in both healthy and DM1 patients, but recent studies identified pathological variant expansions containing unstable CCG, CTC and CGG interruptions with a prevalence of 3-5% of cases. In this review, we will describe the clinical, molecular and genetic issues related to the occurrence of variant expansions associated with DM1. Indeed, the identification of these complex DMPK alleles leads to practical consequences in DM1 genetic counseling and testing, because these exams can give false negative results. Moreover, DM1 patients carrying interrupted alleles can manifest either additional atypical neurological symptoms or, conversely, mild, late-onset forms. Therefore, the prognosis of the disease in these patients is difficult to determine because of the great uncertainty about the genotype-phenotype correlations. We will discuss the putative effects of the variant DM1 alleles on the pathogenic disease mechanisms, including mitotic and meiotic repeats instability and splicing alteration typical of DM1 tissues. Interruptions within the DMPK expanded alleles could also interfere with the chromatin structure, the transcriptional activity of the DM1 locus and the interaction with RNA CUG-binding proteins.
- Dystrophia myotonica protein kinase
- Myotonic dystrophy type 1
- Triplet interruptions
ASJC Scopus subject areas