Frameshift deletions of exons 3-7 and revertant fibers in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: mechanisms of dystrophin production

Am J Hum Genet. 1995 Jan;56(1):158-66.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients with mutations that disrupt the translational reading frame produce little or no dystrophin. Two exceptions are the deletion of exons 3-7 and the occurrence of rare dystrophin-positive fibers (revertant fibers) in muscle of DMD patients. Antibodies directed against the amino-terminus and the 5' end of exon 8 did not detect dystrophin in muscle from patients who have a deletion of exons 3-7. However, in all cases, dystrophin was detected with an antibody directed against the 3' end of exon 8. The most likely method of dystrophin production in these cases is initiation at a new start codon in exon 8. We also studied two patients who have revertant fibers: one had an inherited duplication of exons 5-7, which, on immunostaining, showed two types of revertant fibers; and the second patient had a 2-bp nonsense mutation in exon 51, which creates a cryptic splice site. An in-frame mRNA that uses this splice site in exon 51 was detected. Immunostaining demonstrated the presence of the 3' end of exon 51, which is in agreement with the use of this mRNA in revertant fibers. The most likely method of dystrophin production in these fibers is a second mutation that restores the reading frame.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Dystrophin / biosynthesis
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Exons*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology
  • Point Mutation*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Sequence Deletion*


  • Dystrophin
  • RNA, Messenger