Dystrophin and dysferlin double mutant mice: a novel model for rhabdomyosarcoma

Cancer Genet. 2012 May;205(5):232-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergen.2012.03.005.


Although researchers have yet to establish a link between muscular dystrophy (MD) and sarcomas in human patients, literature suggests that the MD genes dystrophin and dysferlin act as tumor suppressor genes in mouse models of MD. For instance, dystrophin-deficient mdx and dysferlin-deficient A/J mice, models of human Duchenne MD and limb-girdle MD type 2B, respectively, develop mixed sarcomas with variable penetrance and latency. To further establish the correlation between MD and sarcoma development, and to test whether a combined deletion of dystrophin and dysferlin exacerbates MD and augments the incidence of sarcomas, we generated dystrophin and dysferlin double mutant mice (STOCK-Dysf(prmd)Dmd(mdx-5Cv)). Not surprisingly, the double mutant mice develop severe MD symptoms and, moreover, develop rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) at an average age of 12 months, with an incidence of >90%. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses, using a panel of antibodies against skeletal muscle cell proteins, electron microscopy, cytogenetics, and molecular analysis reveal that the double mutant mice develop RMS. The present finding bolsters the correlation between MD and sarcomas, and provides a model not only to examine the cellular origins but also to identify mechanisms and signal transduction pathways triggering development of RMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dysferlin
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Animal / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / genetics*
  • Spectral Karyotyping


  • Dysf protein, mouse
  • Dysferlin
  • Dystrophin
  • Genetic Markers
  • Membrane Proteins