Expression of FoxO transcription factors increases during certain forms of atrophy. In a dephosphorylated state, FoxOs participate in ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation through the transcriptional activation of E3-ubiquitin ligases such as MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF1. There is exhaustive research demonstrating that FoxO3a is sufficient to induce MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF-1 expressions. In contrast, the data are conflicting on the requirement of FoxO1 signaling in the activation of the E3-ubiquitin ligases. Moreover, no reports currently exist on the particular role of FoxO1 in the molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of physiological muscle wasting. Here, we have applied the most extensively used rodent model of microgravity/functional unloading to stimulate disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy such as rat hindlimb suspension (HS). We showed that inhibition of FoxO1 activity by a selective inhibitor AS1842856 completely reversed an increase in expression of MuRF-1, but not MAFbx/atrogin-1, observed upon HS. Furthermore, we demonstrated that FoxO1 induced upregulation of another E3-ubiquitin-ligase of a MuRF protein family MuRF-2 in skeletal muscle subjected to disuse. Prevention of the MuRF increase upon HS impeded upregulation of transcript expression of a negative regulator of NFATc1 pathway calsarcin-2, which was associated with a partial reversion of MyHC-IId/x and MyHC-IIb mRNA expressions. Importantly, FoxO1 inhibition induced a marked increase in p70S6k phosphorylation, an important stage in the initiation of protein translation, concomitant with the restoration of global protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle of the HS rats. Examination of eIF3f expression and the eEF2k/eEF2 pathway, other factors controlling translation initiation and elongation respectively, did not reveal any impact of FoxO1 on their activity. Lastly, we observed a decrease in transcript levels of Sesn3, but not Sesn1 and Sesn2, upon disuse, which was completely reversed by FoxO1 inhibition. These data demonstrate that FoxO1 signaling contributes to the development of disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy, including slow to fast MyHC isoform shift, mostly through upregulation of MuRF-1 and MuRF-2 expression. Furthermore, FoxO1 inhibition is required to recover Sesn3 mRNA expression in atrophic conditions, which likely contributes to the enhanced p70S6k activity and restoration of the protein synthesis rate.
Advances in Biological Regulation