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Up-regulation of utrophin in muscles represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. We previously demonstrated that eEF1A2 associates with the 5'UTR of utrophin A to promote IRES-dependent translation. Here, we examine whether eEF1A2 directly regulates utrophin A expression and identify via an ELISA-based high-throughput screen, FDA-approved drugs that upregulate both eEF1A2 and utrophin A. Our results show that transient overexpression of eEF1A2 in mouse muscles causes an increase in IRES-mediated translation of utrophin A. Through the assessment of our screen, we reveal 7 classes of FDA-approved drugs that increase eEF1A2 and utrophin A protein levels. Treatment of mdx mice with the 2 top leads results in multiple improvements of the dystrophic phenotype. Here, we report that IRES-mediated translation of utrophin A via eEF1A2 is a critical mechanism of regulating utrophin A expression and reveal the potential of repurposed drugs for treating DMD via this pathway.


Christine Péladeau, Nadine Adam, Lucas M Bronicki, Adèle Coriati, Mohamed Thabet, Hasanen Al-Rewashdy, Jason Vanstone, Alan Mears, Jean-Marc Renaud, Martin Holcik, Bernard J Jasmin. Identification of therapeutics that target eEF1A2 and upregulate utrophin A translation in dystrophic muscles. Nature communications. 2020 Apr 24;11(1):1990

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PMID: 32332749

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