BMC genomics

RNA-seq and metabolomic analyses of Akt1-mediated muscle growth reveals regulation of regenerative pathways and changes in the muscle secretome.

PMID 28209124


Skeletal muscle is a major regulator of systemic metabolism as it serves as the major site for glucose disposal and the main reservoir for amino acids. With aging, cachexia, starvation, and myositis, there is a preferential loss of fast glycolytic muscle fibers. We previously reported a mouse model in which a constitutively-active Akt transgene is induced to express in a subset of muscle groups leading to the hypertrophy of type IIb myofibers with an accompanying increase in strength. This muscle growth protects mice in various cardio-metabolic disease models, but little is known about the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms by which fast-twitch muscle impacts disease processes and regulates distant tissues. In the present study, poly (A) + tail mRNA-seq and non-targeted metabolomics were performed to characterize the transcriptome and metabolome of the hypertrophic gastrocnemius muscle from Akt1-transgenic mice. Combined metabolomics and transcriptomic analyses revealed that Akt1-induced muscle growth mediated a metabolic shift involving reductions in glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation, but enhanced pentose phosphate pathway activation and increased branch chain amino acid accumulation. Pathway analysis for the 4,027 differentially expressed genes in muscle identified enriched signaling pathways involving growth, cell cycle regulation, and inflammation. Consistent with a regenerative transcriptional signature, the transgenic muscle tissue was found to be comprised of fibers with centralized nuclei that are positive for embryonic myosin heavy chain. Immunohistochemical analysis also revealed the presence of inflammatory cells associated with the regenerating fibers. Signal peptide prediction analysis revealed 240 differentially expressed in muscle transcripts that potentially encode secreted proteins. A number of these secreted factors have signaling properties that are consistent with the myogenic, metabolic and cardiovascular-protective properties that have previously been associated with type IIb muscle growth. This study provides the first extensive transcriptomic sequencing/metabolomics analysis for a model of fast-twitch myofiber growth. These data reveal that enhanced Akt signaling promotes the activation of pathways that are important for the production of proteins and nucleic acids. Numerous transcripts potentially encoding muscle secreted proteins were identified, indicating the importance of fast-twitch muscle in inter-tissue communication.