Mutagenic stress modulates the dynamics of CTG repeat instability associated with myotonic dystrophy type 1

Elisabeth Piñeiro, Laura Fernàndez-López, Josep Gamez, Ricard Marcos, Jordi Surrallés, Antonia Velázuqez

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The molecular basis of the myotonic dystrophy type 1 is the expansion of a CTG repeat at the DMPK locus. The expanded disease-associated repeats are unstable in both somatic and germ lines, with a high tendency towards expansion. The rate of expansion is directly related to the size of the pathogenic allele, increasing the size heterogeneity with age. It has also been suggested that additional factors, including as yet unidentified environmental factors, might affect the instability of the expanded CTG repeats to account for the observed CTG size dynamics over time. To investigate the effect of environmental factors in the CTG repeat instability, three lymphoblastoid cell lines were established from two myotonic dystrophy patients and one healthy individual, and parallel cultures were concurrently expanded in the presence or absence of the mutagenic chemical mitomycin C for a total of 12 population doublings. The new alleles arising along the passages were analysed by radioactive small pool PCR and sequencing gels. An expansion bias of the stepwise mutation was observed in a (CTG 124 allele of a cell line harbouring two modal alleles of 28 and 124 CTG repeats. Interestingly, this expansion bias was clearly enhanced in the presence of mitomycin C. The effect of mitomycin C was also evident in the normal size alleles in two cell lines with alleles of 13/13 and 12/69 repeats, where treated cultures showed new longer alleles. In conclusion, our results indicate that mitomycin C modulates the dynamics of myotonic dystrophy-associated CTG repeats in LBCLs, enhancing the expansion bias of long-pathogenic repeats and promoting the expansion of normal length repeats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6733-6740
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003


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