The Dystrophin Complex: Structure, Function, and Implications for Therapy

Compr Physiol. 2015 Jul 1;5(3):1223-39. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c140048.


The dystrophin complex stabilizes the plasma membrane of striated muscle cells. Loss of function mutations in the genes encoding dystrophin, or the associated proteins, trigger instability of the plasma membrane, and myofiber loss. Mutations in dystrophin have been extensively cataloged, providing remarkable structure-function correlation between predicted protein structure and clinical outcomes. These data have highlighted dystrophin regions necessary for in vivo function and fueled the design of viral vectors and now, exon skipping approaches for use in dystrophin restoration therapies. However, dystrophin restoration is likely more complex, owing to the role of the dystrophin complex as a broad cytoskeletal integrator. This review will focus on dystrophin restoration, with emphasis on the regions of dystrophin essential for interacting with its associated proteins and discuss the structural implications of these approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dystrophin / chemistry
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Dystrophin / metabolism*
  • Dystrophin-Associated Proteins / chemistry
  • Dystrophin-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Dystrophin-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / therapy


  • Dystrophin
  • Dystrophin-Associated Proteins