Histone deacetylase degradation and MEF2 activation promote the formation of slow-twitch myofibers.

Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9148, USA.
Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor: 13.77). 10/2007; 117(9):2459-67. DOI: 10.1172/JCI31960
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Skeletal muscle is composed of heterogeneous myofibers with distinctive rates of contraction, metabolic properties, and susceptibility to fatigue. We show that class II histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins, which function as transcriptional repressors of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factor, fail to accumulate in the soleus, a slow muscle, compared with fast muscles (e.g., white vastus lateralis). Accordingly, pharmacological blockade of proteasome function specifically increases expression of class II HDAC proteins in the soleus in vivo. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches in mice, we discovered that class II HDAC proteins suppress the formation of slow twitch, oxidative myofibers through the repression of MEF2 activity. Conversely, expression of a hyperactive form of MEF2 in skeletal muscle of transgenic mice promotes the formation of slow fibers and enhances running endurance, enabling mice to run almost twice the distance of WT littermates. Thus, the selective degradation of class II HDACs in slow skeletal muscle provides a mechanism for enhancing physical performance and resistance to fatigue by augmenting the transcriptional activity of MEF2. These findings provide what we believe are new insights into the molecular basis of skeletal muscle function and have important implications for possible therapeutic interventions into muscular diseases.

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    ABSTRACT: Fiber type-specific programs controlled by the transcription factor MEF2 dictate muscle functionality. Here, we show that HDAC4, a potent MEF2 inhibitor, is predominantly localized to the nuclei in fast/glycolytic fibers in contrast to the sarcoplasm in slow/oxidative fibers. The cytoplasmic localization is associated with HDAC4 hyper-phosphorylation in slow/oxidative-fibers. Genetic reprogramming of fast/glycolytic fibers to oxidative fibers by active CaMKII or calcineurin leads to increased HDAC4 phosphorylation, HDAC4 nuclear export, and an increase in markers associated with oxidative fibers. Indeed, HDAC4 represses the MEF2-dependent, PGC-1α-mediated oxidative metabolic gene program. Thus differential phosphorylation and localization of HDAC4 contributes to establishing fiber type-specific transcriptional programs.
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the body and is a major source of total energy expenditure in mammals. Skeletal muscle consists of fast and slow fiber types, which differ in their energy usage, contractile speed, and force generation. Although skeletal muscle plays a major role in whole body metabolism, the transcription factors controlling metabolic function in muscle remain incompletely understood. Members of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) family of transcription factors play crucial roles in skeletal muscle development and function. MEF2C is expressed in skeletal muscle during development and postnatally and is known to play roles in sarcomeric gene expression, fiber type control, and regulation of metabolic genes. We generated mice lacking Mef2c exclusively in skeletal muscle using a conditional knockout approach and conducted a detailed phenotypic analysis. Mice lacking Mef2c in skeletal muscle on an outbred background are viable and grow to adulthood, but they are significantly smaller in overall body size compared to control mice and have significantly fewer slow fibers. When exercised in a voluntary wheel running assay, Mef2c skeletal muscle knockout mice aberrantly accumulate glycogen in their muscle, suggesting an impairment in normal glucose homeostasis. Consistent with this notion, Mef2c skeletal muscle knockout mice exhibit accelerated blood glucose clearance compared to control mice. These findings demonstrate that MEF2C function in skeletal muscle is important for metabolic homeostasis and control of overall body size.
    02/2015; 5:7. DOI:10.1186/s13395-015-0031-0

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