Scientific reports

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 patient-derived iPSCs for the investigation of CTG repeat instability.

PMID 28211918


Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal-dominant multi-system disease caused by expanded CTG repeats in dystrophia myotonica protein kinase (DMPK). The expanded CTG repeats are unstable and can increase the length of the gene with age, which worsens the symptoms. In order to establish a human stem cell system suitable for the investigation of repeat instability, DM1 patient-derived iPSCs were generated and differentiated into three cell types commonly affected in DM1, namely cardiomyocytes, neurons and myocytes. Then we precisely analysed the CTG repeat lengths in these cells. Our DM1-iPSCs showed a gradual lengthening of CTG repeats with unchanged repeat distribution in all cell lines depending on the passage numbers of undifferentiated cells. However, the average CTG repeat length did not change significantly after differentiation into different somatic cell types. We also evaluated the chromatin accessibility in DM1-iPSCs using ATAC-seq. The chromatin status in DM1 cardiomyocytes was closed at the DMPK locus as well as at SIX5 and its promoter region, whereas it was open in control, suggesting that the epigenetic modifications may be related to the CTG repeat expansion in DM1. These findings may help clarify the role of repeat instability in the CTG repeat expansion in DM1.