Mutations in fukutin-related protein (FKRP) give rise to mild and more severe forms of muscular dystrophy. FKRP patients have reduced glycosylation of the extracellular protein dystroglycan, and FKRP itself shows sequence similarity to glycosyltransferases, implicating FKRP in the processing of dystroglycan. However, FKRP localization is controversial, and no FKRP complexes are known, so any FKRP-dystroglycan link remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate a novel FKRP localization in vivo; in mouse, both endogenous and recombinant FKRP are present at the sarcolemma. Biochemical analyses revealed that mouse muscle FKRP and dystroglycan co-enrich and co-fractionate, indicating that FKRP coexists with dystroglycan in the native dystrophin-glycoprotein complex. Furthermore, FKRP sedimentation shifts with dystroglycan in disease models involving the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex, and sarcolemmal FKRP immunofluorescence mirrors that of dystroglycan in muscular dystrophy mice, suggesting that FKRP localization may be mediated by dystroglycan. These data offer the first evidence of an FKRP complex in muscle and suggest that FKRP may influence the glycosylation status of dystroglycan from within the sarcolemmal dystrophin-glycoprotein complex.
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