Activation of a novel metabolic gene regulatory pathway by chronic stimulation of skeletal muscle

S. Cresci, L. D. Wright, J. A. Spratt, F. N. Briggs, D. P. Kelly

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To determine whether expression of a nuclear gene encoding a mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation enzyme is regulated in parallel with skeletal muscle fiber-type-specific energy substrate preference, expression of the gene encoding medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) was delineated in canine latissimus dorsi muscle subjected to chronic motor nerve stimulation. In predominantly fast-twitch canine latissimus dorsi muscle, MCAD mRNA levels were regulated by chronic stimulation in a biphasic pattern. During the 1st wk of stimulation, steady-state MCAD mRNA levels decreased to 50% of unstimulated levels. MCAD mRNA levels began to increase during the 3rd wk of stimulation to reach a level 3.0-fold higher than levels in unstimulated contralateral control muscle by day 70. Immunodetectable MCAD protein levels paralleled MCAD mRNA levels throughout the stimulation period. The temporal pattern and magnitude of MCAD mRNA accumulation in response to muscle stimulation was distinct from that of mRNAs encoding other enzymes known to be regulated by this stimulus, including glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase, and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase, but paralleled the protein levels of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), an orphan member of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily known to regulate genes encoding fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver. The skeletal muscle expression pattern of PPAR was also similar to that of MCAD in unstimulated rat skeletal muscles with distinct fiber-type compositions. These results demonstrate that a nuclear gene encoding a mitochondrial β- oxidation enzyme is dynamically regulated in a pattern that parallels skeletal muscle fiber-type-specific energy substrate utilization and implicate an orphan nuclear receptor transcription factor as a candidate transducer of this response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C1413-C1420
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 39-5
StatePublished - May 1996


  • fatty acid oxidation
  • mitochondrial enzymes
  • peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor
  • transcriptional regulation


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