The Journal of biological chemistry

Muscle Wasting in Fasting Requires Activation of NF-κB and Inhibition of AKT/Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) by the Protein Acetylase, GCN5.

PMID 26515065


NF-κB is best known for its pro-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic actions, but in skeletal muscle, NF-κB activation is important for atrophy upon denervation or cancer. Here, we show that also upon fasting, NF-κB becomes activated in muscle and is critical for the subsequent atrophy. Following food deprivation, the expression and acetylation of the p65 of NF-κB on lysine 310 increase markedly in muscles. NF-κB inhibition in mouse muscles by overexpression of the IκBα superrepressor (IκBα-SR) or of p65 mutated at Lys-310 prevented atrophy. Knockdown of GCN5 with shRNA or a dominant-negative GCN5 or overexpression of SIRT1 decreased p65K310 acetylation and muscle wasting upon starvation. In addition to reducing atrogene expression, surprisingly inhibiting NF-κB with IκBα-SR or by GCN5 knockdown in these muscles also enhanced AKT and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) activities, which also contributed to the reduction in atrophy. These new roles of NF-κB and GCN5 in regulating muscle proteolysis and AKT/mTOR signaling suggest novel approaches to combat muscle wasting.