In order to gain an insight into the pathogenesis of mouse muscular dystrophy, we investigated the natural suppressor serine tRNA. The natural suppressor seryl-tRNA was distinguished from the other seryl-tRNAs on the basis of its specific property of being converted into phosphoseryl-tRNA by a tRNA kinase. On a wet-weight basis, the content of total tRNA in dystrophic muscles was 47% of that in normal muscles. Although the serine-accepting activities of tRNA were similar in muscles of 3-month-old dystrophic and normal mice, the ratio of [32P]phosphoseryl-tRNA (suppressor tRNA) to the total serine tRNA was significantly enhanced in dystrophic muscles compared with that in normal muscles. This high content of suppressor tRNA in dystrophic muscles was further confirmed by dot-blot hybridization experiments with the DNA probes CGTAGTCGGCAGGAT and CGCCCGAAAGGTGGAA for major tRNA(IGASer) and suppressor tRNA respectively. At the early postnatal age of 3 weeks, when only a week had elapsed since the first manifestation of the dystrophic symptom (hindleg dragging), the ratio of suppressor tRNA to major tRNAs in dystrophic hindleg muscles was abnormally increased. Thereafter it decreased with age in normal mice but remained almost unchanged in dystrophic mice. Consequently, at 3 months old, it was 1.7 times higher in dystrophic than in normal mice. The suppressor tRNA is now accepted to play a role in the synthesis of glutathione peroxidase. The present study showed that the content of this enzyme was abnormally elevated in dystrophic mice. Previously we had demonstrated that the docosahexaenoic (C22:6) acid content in phospholipids was decreased, possibly resulting from the enhanced oxidative milieu caused by the dystrophic condition. Thus far, the findings suggest that an increase in the contents of suppressor tRNA and glutathione peroxidase in dystrophic muscle may have been secondarily induced by such a highly oxidative state in the dystrophic condition. However, it is difficult to exclude the possibility that the natural suppressor tRNA plays a primary role in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.