Biochimica et biophysica acta

Celf1 regulates cell cycle and is partially responsible for defective myoblast differentiation in myotonic dystrophy RNA toxicity.

PMID 25887157


Myotonic dystrophy is a neuromuscular disease of RNA toxicity. The disease gene DMPK harbors expanded CTG trinucleotide repeats on its 3'-UTR. The transcripts of this mutant DMPK led to misregulation of RNA-binding proteins including MBNL1 and Celf1. In myoblasts, CUG-expansion impaired terminal differentiation. In this study, we formally tested how the abundance of Celf1 regulates normal myocyte differentiation, and how Celf1 expression level mediates CUG-expansion RNA toxicity-triggered impairment of myocyte differentiation. As the results, overexpression of Celf1 largely recapitulated the defects of myocytes with CUG-expansion, by increasing myocyte cycling. Knockdown of endogenous Celf1 level led to precocious myotube formation, supporting a negative connection between Celf1 abundance and myocyte terminal differentiation. Finally, knockdown of Celf1 in myocyte with CUG-expansion led to partial rescue, by promoting cell cycle exit. Our results suggest that Celf1 plays a distinctive and negative role in terminal myocyte differentiation, which partially contribute to DM1 RNA toxicity. Targeting Celf1 may be a valid strategy in correcting DM1 muscle phenotypes, especially for congenital cases.