- McLoughlin, Thomas J; Smith, Sierra M; DeLong, Alissa D; Wang, Hengbing; Unterman, Terry G; Esser, K A
- Recent studies indicate that FoxO transcription factors play an important role in promoting muscle atrophy. To study mechanisms mediating effects of FoxO proteins on muscle wasting, FoxO1-estrogen receptor fusion proteins that are activated by treatment with 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OH-T) were stably transfected in C(2)C(12) skeletal myoblasts using the pBABE retroviral system and grown into multinucleated skeletal myotubes. Activation of FoxO1 resulted in significant muscle atrophy, which was accompanied by DNA fragmentation, evidenced by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick end labeling. Cells expressing a DNA-binding-deficient form of FoxO1 also exhibited significant atrophy on FoxO1 activation but no hallmark signs of apoptosis. FoxO1 activation resulted in a significant increase in muscle atrophy F-box (MAFbx)/atrogin-1, muscle-specific RING finger protein 1 (MuRF-1), and Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (Bim) gene expression, with no significant increase in Bcl-2/adenovirus E1B 19-kDa-interacting protein 3 (BNip3) gene expression. Although the ability of FoxO1 to induce MuRF-1 gene expression appeared to be independent of DNA binding, expression of MAFbx/atrogin-1 and Bim was significantly blunted in cells expressing DNA-binding-deficient FoxO1. BNip3 gene expression was significantly elevated in DNA-binding-deficient mutant cells. These findings indicate that FoxO1 promotes skeletal muscle atrophy through induction of proteolytic and apoptotic machinery via DNA-binding-dependent and -independent mechanisms.
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