Dystrophin and mutations: one gene, several proteins, multiple phenotypes

Lancet Neurol. 2003 Dec;2(12):731-40. doi: 10.1016/s1474-4422(03)00585-4.


A large and complex gene on the X chromosome encodes dystrophin. Many mutations have been described in this gene, most of which affect the expression of the muscle isoform, the best-known protein product of this locus. These mutations result in the Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies (DMD and BMD). However, there are several other tissue specific isoforms of dystrophin, some exclusively or predominantly expressed in the brain or the retina. Mutations affecting the correct expression of these tissue-specific isoforms have been associated with the CNS involvement common in DMD. Rare mutations also account for the allelic disorder X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy, in which dystrophin expression or function is affected mostly or exclusively in the heart. Genotype definition of the dystrophin gene in patients with dystrophinopathies has taught us much about functionally important domains of the protein itself and has provided insights into several regulatory mechanisms governing the gene expression profile. Here, we focus on current understanding of the genotype-phenotype relation for mutations in the dystrophin gene and their implications for gene functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dystrophin / chemistry
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype*
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics


  • Dystrophin
  • Protein Isoforms