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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Oct;32(5):921-9.

Ca2+/calmodulin-based signalling in the regulation of the muscle fibre phenotype and its therapeutic potential via modulation of utrophin A and myostatin expression.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,Concordia University, The Richard J. Renaud Science Complex, Montreal, QC H4B 1R6, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Dec;32(6):1274.


Ca2+ signalling plays an important role in excitation-contraction coupling and the resultant force output of skeletal muscle. It is also known to play a crucial role in modulating both short- and long-term muscle cellular phenotypic adaptations associated with these events. Ca2+ signalling via the Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM)-dependent phosphatase calcineurin (CnA) and via Ca2+/CaM-dependent kinases, such as CaMKI and CaMKII, is known to regulate hypertrophic growth in response to overload, to direct slow versus fast fibre gene expression, and to contribute to mitochondrial biogenesis. The CnA- and CaMK-dependent regulation of the downstream transcription factors nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and myocyte-specific enhancer factor 2 are known to activate muscle-specific genes associated with a slower, more oxidative fibre phenotype. We have also recently shown the expression of utrophin A, a cytoskeletal protein that accumulates at the neuromuscular junction and plays a role in maturation of the postsynaptic apparatus, to be regulated by CnA-NFAT and Ca2+/CaM signalling. This regulation is fibre-type specific and potentiated by interactions with the transcriptional regulators and coactivators GA binding protein (also known as nuclear respiratory factor 2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha. Another downstream target of CnA signalling may be myostatin, a transforming growth factor-beta family member that is a negative regulator of muscle growth. While the list of the downstream targets of CnA/NFAT- and Ca2+/CaM-dependent signalling is emerging, the precise interaction of these pathways with the Ca2+-independent pathways p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2, phosphoinositide-3 kinase, and protein kinase B (Akt/PKB) must also be considered when deciphering fibre responses and plasticity to altered contractile load.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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