RNA/MBNL1-containing foci in myoblast nuclei from patients affected by myotonic dystrophy type 2: An immunocytochemical study

F. Perdoni, M. Malatesta, R. Cardani, M. Giagnacovo, E. Mancinelli, G. Meola, Carlo Pellicciari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is a dominantly inherited autosomal disease with multi-systemic clinical features and it is caused by expansion of a CCTG tetranucleotide repeat in the first intron of the zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene in 3q21.The expanded-CCUG-containing transcripts are retained in the cell nucleus and accumulate in the form of focal aggregates which specifically sequester the muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) protein, a RNA binding factor involved in the regulation of alternative splicing. The structural organization and composition of the foci are still incompletely known. In this study, the nuclear foci occurring in cultured myoblasts from DM2 patients were characterised at fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy by using a panel of antibodies recognizing transcription and processing factors of pre-mRNAs. MBNL1 proved to co-locate in the nuclear foci with snRNPs and hnRNPs, whereas no co-location was observed with RNA polymerase II, the non-RNP splicing factor SC35, the cleavage factor CStF and the PML protein. At electron microscopy the MBNL1-containing nuclear foci appeared as roundish domains showing a rather homogeneous structure and proved to contain snRNPs and hnRNPs. The sequestration of splicing factors involved in early phases of pre-mRNA processing supports the hypothesis of a general alteration in the maturation of several mRNAs, which could lead to the multiple pathological dysfunctions observed in dystrophic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of histochemistry : EJH
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Electron microscopy
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Myoblast
  • Myotonic dystrophy type 2 - DM2
  • RNA processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Histology
  • Biophysics


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