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Signal Strength

Insight into the mechanisms underlying muscular dystrophy symptoms

06 March 2023

Signal Strength

As your WiFi router blinks, it sends signals to your laptop, phone, and TV, connecting them to one another and the outside world. Here, we see another signalling hub, called the dystrophin glycoprotein complex (DGC, green), in the muscle fibres (red) of a fruit fly embryo. The DGC links each muscle cell's protein skeleton to the connective tissue outside, providing structural integrity. Now researchers have discovered that the DGC does so much more. By studying fruit flies, scientists showed that cells need a working DGC to respond properly to different stresses. Hundreds of different genes rely on the DGC to be switched on and off at the right moments. This helps explain what goes wrong in people with muscular dystrophies, caused by faulty DGCs, which could lead to new treatment strategies. Further probing the DGC could also hold the key to understanding muscle loss in ageing, cancer, AIDS, and other conditions.

Written by Henry Stennett

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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