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Etude du rôle de dux4 dans la physiopathologie de la dystrophie facio-scapulo-humérale

Abstract : Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern and is one of the most common muscular dystrophies (7/100 000). FSHD usually manifests in the second decade of life and includes an asymmetric wasting and weakness of facial, shoulder and arm muscles and is affecting the distal muscles in later stages of the disease. D4Z4 repetitions, which are known to be decreased in FSHD patients, comprise an open reading frame encoding a transcription factor called DUX4 that is only expressed in patients affected by FSHD. My PhD thesis project is aiming to better understanding of the role played by DUX4 in human skeletal muscle in order to elucidate its involvement in the pathophysiology of FSHD. As FSHD is a progressive disease, I studied DUX4 mRNA expression in both primary human fetal muscle cells and in fetal muscle tissue of control subjects and FSHD1 patients. For the first time, we were able to demonstrate DUX4 expression at the fetal stage, and in addition, we showed abnormal expression of various genes that has been reported to be altered in adult FSHD patients. Also, our experiments on fetus and adult FSHD patient cells suggested an equal expression of DUX4 protein. Although DUX4 protein is expressed at a very low level in patients (about 0.5 to 10% of the nuclei), it leads to a strong misexpression of a large number of DUX4 target genes. By performing co-cultures between C2C12 mouse myoblasts and control or FSHD human myoblasts, we demonstrated that expression of toxic DUX4 protein occurs only in a limited number of nuclei in FSHD patient cells. Interestingly, we revealed that the expressed DUX4 protein is able to spread from one nucleus into nearby nuclei within the myotubes and hence transmitting the molecular pathological abnormalities. Our research project will give us new insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying FSHD.
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Maxime Ferreboeuf. Etude du rôle de dux4 dans la physiopathologie de la dystrophie facio-scapulo-humérale. Biologie moléculaire. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014PA066267⟩. ⟨tel-01340357⟩



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