Muscular Dystrophy Regulation: Ezh2, NCoR-1

Tue, 04/23/2013 - 10:51

Over the years muscular dystrophies have become a popular area of research. These are a group of inherited disorders that involve an increase in muscle weakness over time. These disorders greatly decrease the quality of life and there are no known cures. Research in this area appears to have excelled in the past two years with findings related to the genes NCoR and EZH2.

The principle behind muscular dystrophies is the degeneration of muscle. During the development of muscle in infancy, muscle satellite cells are continuously proliferating. After infancy, the satellite cells will only proliferate by activation due to an injury. In these disorders, muscle satellite cells do not proliferate in response to muscle loss.  The activity of these cells appears to be controlled by the gene Ezh2. Researchers at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMSD) have found that causing Ezh2 to become inactive in satellite cells did not allow mice to repair muscle damage after an injury. In the same year as this discovery, NCoR1 has also shown to play an important role in these disorders. NCoR1 belongs to the N-CoR nuclear receptor corepressors family.

Scientists at the University of Lausanne, EPFL and the Salk Institute have discovered that N-CoR1 acts as an inhibitor in muscle growth. The function of this inhibitor was reduced in mice, and it was observed that muscle developed more effectively and resulted in very strong mice. The combination of the effects of the muscle proliferation initiator and the muscle proliferation inhibitor provides a step forward for researchers.

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