Dystrophin Dp71: the smallest but multifunctional product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy gene

Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Feb;45(1):43-60. doi: 10.1007/s12035-011-8218-9. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Dystrophin Dp71 is expressed in all tissues, with the exception of skeletal muscle, and is the main Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene product in brain. As full-length dystrophin does in skeletal muscle, Dp71 associates with dystroglycans, sarcoglycans, dystrobrevins, syntrophins, and accessory proteins to form the dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC) in non-muscle tissues. Although it has been nearly 20 years since the discovery of Dp71, its study has become relevant only recently due to its direct involvement with the two main DMD non-muscular phenotypes: cognitive impairment and abnormal retinal physiology. In this review, we describe the historical background of Dp71 and the experimental models developed for its study. Additionally, we present and discuss the experimental evidence supporting the participation of Dp71 in different cellular processes, including cell adhesion, water homeostasis, cell division, and nuclear architecture. The functional diversity of Dp71 is attributed to the formation of Dp71-containing DAPC in numerous cell types and different subcellular compartments, including in plasma membrane and nucleus, as well as to the capability of Dp71-containing DAPC to work as the scaffold for proper clustering and anchoring of structural and signaling proteins to the plasma membrane and of nuclear envelope proteins to the inner nuclear membrane.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dystrophin / deficiency*
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Dystrophin / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology


  • Dystrophin
  • apo-dystrophin 1