Study Title:

A protein kinase B-dependent and rapamycin-sensitive pathway controls skeletal muscle growth but not fiber type specification.

Study Abstract

Nerve activity controls fiber size and fiber type in skeletal muscle, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. We have previously shown that Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase and calcineurin control fiber type but not fiber size in regenerating rat skeletal muscle. Here we report that constitutively active protein kinase B (PKB), also known as Akt, increases fiber size and prevents denervation atrophy in regenerating and adult rat muscles but does not affect fiber type profile. The coexistence of hypertrophic muscle fibers overexpressing activated PKB with normal-size untransfected fibers within the same muscle points to a cell-autonomous control of muscle growth by PKB. The physiological role of this pathway is confirmed by the finding that PKB kinase activity and phosphorylation status are significantly increased in innervated compared with denervated regenerating muscles in parallel with muscle growth. Muscle fiber hypertrophy induced by activated PKB and by a Ras double mutant (RasV12C40) that activates selectively the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-PKB pathway is completely blocked by rapamycin, showing that the mammalian target of rapamycin kinase is the major downstream effector of this pathway in the control of muscle fiber size. On the other hand, nerve activity-dependent growth of regenerating muscle is only partially inhibited by dominant negative PKB and rapamycin, suggesting that other nerve-dependent signaling pathways are involved in muscle growth. The present results support the notion that fiber size and fiber type are regulated by nerve activity through different mechanisms.

Study Information

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jul 9;99(14):9213-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.142166599. Epub 2002 Jun 25. PMID: 12084817; PMCID: PMC123120.

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