DMD gene exons duplications account for up to 5-10 % of Duchenne (DMD) and up to 5-19% of Becker (BMD) muscular dystrophies; as for the more common deletions, the genotype-phenotype correlation and the genetic prognosis are generally based on the "reading frame rule". Nevertheless, the transcriptional profile of duplications, abridging the genomic configuration to the eventual protein effect, has been poorly studied. We describe 26 DMD gene duplications occurring in 33 unrelated patients and detected among a cohort of 194 mutation-positive DMD/BMD patients. We have characterized at the RNA level 16 of them. Four duplications (15%) behave as exception to the reading frame rule. In three BMD cases with out-of-frame mutations, the RNA analysis revealed that exon skipping events occurring in the duplicated region represent the mechanism leading to the frame re-establishment and to the milder phenotype. Differently, in a DMD patient carrying an in-frame duplication the RNA behaviour failed to explain the clinical phenotype which is probably related to post-transcriptional-translational mechanisms. We conclude that defining the RNA profile in DMD gene duplications is mandatory both for establishing the genetic prognosis and for approaching therapeutic trials based on hnRNA modulation. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas