CTG repeat instability in a human embryonic stem cell line carrying the myotonic dystrophy type 1 mutation


Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are considered to be an indefinite source of self-renewing cells that can differentiate into all types of cells of the human body and could be used in regenerative medicine, drug discovery and as a model for studying early developmental biology. hESC carrying disease-causing mutations hold promise as a tool to investigate mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. In this report, we describe the behaviour of an expanded CTG repeat in the 3' untranslated region of the DMPK gene in VUB03_DM1, a hESC line carrying the myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) mutation compared with the normal CTG repeat in two hESC lines VUB01 and VUB04_CF. Expanded CTG repeats were detected by small amount PCR, small pool PCR and Southern blot analysis in consecutive passages of VUB03_DM1. An important instability of the CTG repeat was detected during prolonged in vitro culture, showing stepwise increases of the repeat number in consecutive passages as well as a higher range of variability. This variability was present in cells of different colonies of the same passage and even within single colonies. The high repeat instability is in contrast to the previously observed stability of the repeat in preimplantation embryos and in fetuses during the first trimester of pregnancy. This in vitro culture of affected hESC represents a valuable model for studying the biology of repeat instability.

Authors De Temmerman N, Seneca S, Van Steirteghem A, Haentjens P, Van der Elst J, Liebaers I, Sermon KD
Journal Molecular human reproduction
Publication Date 2008 Jul;14(7):405-12
PubMed 18577525
DOI 10.1093/molehr/gan034

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