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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2008 Apr;294(4):C1088-95. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00523.2007. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Nitric oxide facilitates NFAT-dependent transcription in mouse myotubes.

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  • 1Center for Exercise Science, Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


Intracellular calcium transients in skeletal muscle cells initiate phenotypic adaptations via activation of calcineurin and its effector nuclear factor of activated t-cells (NFAT). Furthermore, endogenous production of nitric oxide (NO) via calcium-calmodulin-dependent NO synthase (NOS) is involved in skeletal muscle phenotypic plasticity. Here, we provide evidence that NO enhances calcium-dependent nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activity of NFAT and induces phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) in C2C12 myotubes. The calcium ionophore A23187 (1 microM for 9 h) or thapsigargin (2 microM for 4 h) increased NFAT transcriptional activity by seven- and fourfold, respectively, in myotubes transiently transfected with an NFAT-dependent reporter plasmid (pNFAT-luc, Stratagene). Cotreatment with the NOS-inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 5 mM) or the guanylate cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ; 10 microM) prevented the calcium effects on NFAT activity. The NO donor diethylenetriamine-NONO (DETA-NO; 10 microM) augmented the effects of A23187 on NFAT-dependent transcription. Similarly, A23187 (0.4 microM for 4 h) caused nuclear accumulation of NFAT and increased phosphorylation (i.e., inactivation) of GSK-3beta, whereas cotreatment with L-NAME or ODQ inhibited these responses. Finally, the NO donor 3-(2-hydroxy-2-nitroso-1-propylhydrazino)-1-propanamine (PAPA-NO; 1 microM for 1 h) increased phosphorylation of GSK-3beta in a manner dependent on guanylate cyclase activity. We conclude that NOS activity mediates calcium-induced phosphorylation of GSK-3beta and activation of NFAT-dependent transcription in myotubes. Furthermore, these effects of NO are guanylate cyclase-dependent.

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