Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Dec 20;108(51):20808-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1111448109. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Myopathy caused by mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) inactivation is not reversed by restoring mitochondrial function.

Author information

  • 1Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is central to the control of cell, organ, and body size. Skeletal muscle-specific inactivation of mTORC1 in mice results in smaller muscle fibers, fewer mitochondria, increased glycogen stores, and a progressive myopathy that causes premature death. In mTORC1-deficient muscles, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α (PGC-1α), which regulates mitochondrial biogenesis and glucose homeostasis, is strongly down-regulated. Here we tested whether induction of mitochondrial biogenesis pharmacologically or by the overexpression of PGC-1α is sufficient to reverse the phenotype of mice deficient for mTORC1. We show that both approaches normalize mitochondrial function, such as oxidative capacity and expression of mitochondrial genes. However, they do not prevent or delay the progressive myopathy. In addition, we find that mTORC1 has a much stronger effect than PGC-1α on the glycogen content in muscle. This effect is based on the strong activation of PKB/Akt in mTORC1-deficient mice. We also show that activation of PKB/Akt not only affects glycogen synthesis but also diminishes glycogen degradation. Thus, our work provides strong functional evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction in mice with inactivated mTORC1 signaling is caused by the down-regulation of PGC-1α. However, our data also show that the impairment of mitochondria does not lead directly to the lethal myopathy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center