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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044837. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Inverse regulation of the cytosolic Ca²⁺ buffer parvalbumin and mitochondrial volume in muscle cells via SIRT1/PGC-1α axis.

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Unit of Anatomy, Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.


Skeletal muscles show a high plasticity to cope with various physiological demands. Different muscle types can be distinguished by the force, endurance, contraction/relaxation kinetics (fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch muscles), oxidative/glycolytic capacity, and also with respect to Ca²⁺-signaling components. Changes in Ca²⁺ signaling and associated Ca²⁺-dependent processes are thought to underlie the high adaptive capacity of muscle fibers. Here we investigated the consequences and the involved mechanisms caused by the ectopic expression of the Ca²⁺-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) in C2C12 myotubes in vitro, and conversely, the effects caused by its absence in in fast-twitch muscles of parvalbumin null-mutant (PV⁻/⁻) mice in vivo. The absence of PV in fast-twitch muscle tibialis anterior (TA) resulted in an increase in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) and of its positive regulator, the deacetylase sirtuin 1 (SIRT1). TA muscles from PV⁻/⁻ mice also have an increased mitochondrial volume. Mild ionophore treatment of control (PV-devoid) C2C12 myotubes causing a moderate elevation in [Ca²⁺](c) resulted in an increase in mitochondrial volume, together with elevated PGC-1α and SIRT1 expression levels, whilst it increased PV expression levels in myotubes stably transfected with PV. In PV-expressing myotubes the mitochondrial volume, PGC-1α and SIRT1 were significantly lower than in control C2C12 myotubes already at basal conditions and application of ionophore had no effect on either one. SIRT1 activation causes a down-regulation of PV in transfected myotubes, whilst SIRT1 inhibition has the opposite effect. We conclude that PV expression and mitochondrial volume in muscle cells are inversely regulated via a SIRT1/PGC-1α signaling axis.

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