Quantification of exon skipping in Duchenne muscular dystrophy by qRT-PCR

Karen Anthony, Jennifer Morgan, Francesco Muntoni

Research output: Contribution to JournalAbstractpeer-review


Antisense oligonucleotide (AON)-mediated exon skipping of
the dystrophin gene has emerged as a promising therapeutic
intervention for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) which
is currently undergoing phase II clinical trials. AON efficacy
is traditionally first assessed by nested RT-PCR due to the
low abundance of dystrophin. However, semi-quantitative end
point detection is extremely variable, time consuming and relies
on imprecise size discrimination. A quantitative assessment of
dystrophin exon skipping has not been performed in any of the
published studies. Here we describe the development of a Taqman
qRT-PCR assay for skipped and unskipped dystrophin targets and
highlight its use to relatively determine the percentage of exon
skipping in DMD patients treated intra-muscularly with AON
AVI-4658. This valuable assay could be used for the systematic
selection of lead AON sequences, and allows for the accurate
assessment of AON efficiency and the stratification of the rate
of response in different patients recruited into clinical trials.
Furthermore, applications for qRT-PCR across the wider field of
the dystrophinopathies include the determination of dystrophin
transcript levels between Becker muscular dystrophy patients with
the same deletion but different levels of protein, adding an exciting
new contribution to existing efforts to quantify protein levels in
these patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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