- Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a lethal muscle disease, caused by mutations in the gene encoding dystrophin, an actin-binding cytoskeletal protein. Absence of functional dystrophin results in muscle weakness and degeneration, eventually leading to cardiac and respiratory failure. Strategies to replace the missing dystrophin via gene therapy have been intensively pursued. However, the dystrophin gene is too large for current gene therapy approaches. Currently available micro-dystrophin constructs lack the actin-binding domain 2 and show decreased actin-binding affinity in vitro compared to full-length dystrophin.
- Numerous diseases are linked to mutations in the actin-binding domains (ABDs) of conserved cytoskeletal proteins, including β-III-spectrin, α-actinin, filamin, and dystrophin. A β-III-spectrin ABD mutation (L253P) linked to spinocerebellar ataxia type 5 (SCA5) causes a dramatic increase in actin binding. Reducing actin binding of L253P is thus a potential therapeutic approach for SCA5 pathogenesis. Here, we validate a high-throughput screening (HTS) assay to discover potential disrupters of the interaction between the mutant β-III-spectrin ABD and actin in live cells.