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FASEB J. 2010 Aug;24(8):2985-97. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-150045. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

MAP kinase phosphatase-1 deficiency impairs skeletal muscle regeneration and exacerbates muscular dystrophy.

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  • 1Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, 333 Cedar St., New Haven, CT 06520-8066, USA.


In skeletal muscle, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) is a critical negative regulator of the MAPKs. Since the MAPKs have been reported to be both positive and negative for myogenesis, the physiological role of MKP-1 in skeletal muscle repair and regeneration has remained unclear. Here, we show that MKP-1 plays an essential role in adult regenerative myogenesis. In a cardiotoxin-induced muscle injury model, lack of MKP-1 impaired muscle regeneration. In mdx mice, MKP-1 deficiency reduced body weight, muscle mass, and muscle fiber cross-sectional area. In addition, MKP-1-deficient muscles exhibit exacerbated myopathy accompanied by increased inflammation. Lack of MKP-1 compromised myoblast proliferation and induced precocious differentiation, phenotypes that were rescued by pharmacological inhibition of p38alpha/beta MAPK. MKP-1 coordinates both myoblast proliferation and differentiation. Mechanistically, MyoD bound to the MKP-1 promoter and activated MKP-1 expression in proliferating myoblasts. Later, during myogenesis, MyoD uncoupled from the MKP-1 promoter leading to the down-regulation of MKP-1 and facilitation of promyogenic p38alpha/beta MAPK signaling. Hence, MKP-1 plays a critical role in muscle stem cells and in the immune response to coordinate muscle repair and regeneration.

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