GFPT1 deficiency in muscle leads to myasthenia and myopathy in mice

Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Sep 15;27(18):3218-3232. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy225.


Glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate transaminase 1 (GFPT1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway which yields precursors required for protein and lipid glycosylation. Mutations in GFPT1 and other genes downstream of this pathway cause congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) characterized by fatigable muscle weakness owing to impaired neurotransmission. The precise pathomechanisms at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) owing to a deficiency in GFPT1 is yet to be discovered. One of the challenges we face is the viability of Gfpt1-/- knockout mice. In this study, we use Cre/LoxP technology to generate a muscle-specific GFPT1 knockout mouse model, Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d, characteristic of the human CMS phenotype. Our data suggest a critical role for muscle derived GFPT1 in the development of the NMJ, neurotransmission, skeletal muscle integrity and highlight that a deficiency in skeletal muscle alone is sufficient to cause morphological postsynaptic NMJ changes that are accompanied by presynaptic alterations despite the conservation of neuronal GFPT1 expression. In addition to the conventional morphological NMJ changes and fatigable muscle weakness, Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d mice display a progressive myopathic phenotype with the presence of tubular aggregates in muscle, characteristic of the GFPT1-CMS phenotype. We further identify an upregulation of skeletal muscle proteins glypican-1, farnesyltransferase/geranylgeranyltransferase type-1 subunit α and muscle-specific kinase, which are known to be involved in the differentiation and maintenance of the NMJ. The Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d model allows for further investigation of pathophysiological consequences on genes and pathways downstream of GFPT1 likely to involve misglycosylation or hypoglycosylation of NMJs and muscle targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Glutamine-Fructose-6-Phosphate Transaminase (Isomerizing)
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Weakness / genetics*
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics*
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mutation
  • Myasthenic Syndromes, Congenital / genetics*
  • Myasthenic Syndromes, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Junction / genetics
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiopathology
  • Nitrogenous Group Transferases / genetics*
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics


  • Nitrogenous Group Transferases
  • Gfpt1 protein, mouse
  • Glutamine-Fructose-6-Phosphate Transaminase (Isomerizing)