Our lab has developed several burrowing assays to challenge
motor output in dystrophic animals. Mutants mimicking Duchenne muscular dystrophy
by lacking a functional ortholog of the dystrophin protein,
DYS-1, crawl normally but are severely impaired in
burrowing. Muscular degeneration in the dys-1 mutant is
hastened and exacerbated by burrowing, while wild type
shows no such damage (figure). Our students performed a genetic screen using dys-1 worms and isolated several suppressor with proficient burrowing despite their dys-1 mutant background.
In our lab, work on muscular dystrophy focuses on several goals:
1) Identifying the molecular mechanisms by which muscles become impaired during the progression of DMD.
2) Identifying the mutations responsible for the rescue of the dys-1 phenotype observed in suppressor mutants
3) Identifying novel and conserved molecular targets that may contribute to the alleviation of DMD symptoms.
A dedicated team of researchers in our lab are working to improve the quality of life of individuals strugling with this terrible disease.
Kiley Hughes (PhD), Monica Tamrazi (MS), and Dana Niswonger (MS) are our graduate team working on the Duchenne muscular dystrophy.