fhl2b mediates extraocular muscle protection in zebrafish models of muscular dystrophies and its ectopic expression ameliorates affected body muscles.

Dennhag N, Kahsay A, Nissen I, Nord H, Chermenina M, Liu J, Arner A, Liu JX, Backman LJ, Remeseiro S, von Hofsten J, Pedrosa Domellöf F

Nat Commun 15 (1) 1950 [2024-03-02; online 2024-03-02]

In muscular dystrophies, muscle fibers loose integrity and die, causing significant suffering and premature death. Strikingly, the extraocular muscles (EOMs) are spared, functioning well despite the disease progression. Although EOMs have been shown to differ from body musculature, the mechanisms underlying this inherent resistance to muscle dystrophies remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate important differences in gene expression as a response to muscle dystrophies between the EOMs and trunk muscles in zebrafish via transcriptomic profiling. We show that the LIM-protein Fhl2 is increased in response to the knockout of desmin, plectin and obscurin, cytoskeletal proteins whose knockout causes different muscle dystrophies, and contributes to disease protection of the EOMs. Moreover, we show that ectopic expression of fhl2b can partially rescue the muscle phenotype in the zebrafish Duchenne muscular dystrophy model sapje, significantly improving their survival. Therefore, Fhl2 is a protective agent and a candidate target gene for therapy of muscular dystrophies.

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PubMed 38431640

DOI 10.1038/s41467-024-46187-x

Crossref 10.1038/s41467-024-46187-x

pmc: PMC10908798
pii: 10.1038/s41467-024-46187-x

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