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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep;299(3):E456-65. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00648.2009. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

PGC-1{alpha} is required for AICAR-induced expression of GLUT4 and mitochondrial proteins in mouse skeletal muscle.

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Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism and Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Department of Biology, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.


We tested the hypothesis that repeated activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) induces mitochondrial and glucose membrane transporter mRNA/protein expression via a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha)-dependent mechanism. Whole body PGC-1alpha-knockout (KO) and littermate wild-type (WT) mice were given either single or repeated subcutaneous injections of the AMPK activator AICAR or saline. Skeletal muscles were removed either 1 or 4 h after the single AICAR treatment or 24 h after the last injection following repeated AICAR treatment. Repeated AICAR treatment increased GLUT4, cytochrome (cyt) c oxidase I, and (cyt) c protein expression approximately 10-40% relative to saline in white muscles of WT but not of PGC-1alpha-KO mice, whereas fatty acid translocase/CD36 (FAT/CD36) protein expression was unaffected by AICAR treatment in both genotypes. GLUT4, cyt c, and FAT/CD36 mRNA content increased 30-60% 4 h after a single AICAR injection relative to saline in WT, and FAT/CD36 mRNA content decreased in PGC-1alpha-KO mice. One hour after a single AICAR treatment, phosphorylation of AMPK and the downstream target acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase increased in all muscles investigated independent of genotype, indicating normal AICAR-induced AMPK signaling in the absence of PGC-1alpha. The hexokinase II (HKII) mRNA and protein response was similar in muscles of WT and PGC-1alpha-KO mice after single and repeated AICAR treatments, respectively, confirming that HKII is regulated independently of PGC-1alpha in response to AICAR. In conclusion, here we provide genetic evidence for a role of PGC-1alpha in AMPK-mediated regulation of mitochondrial and glucose membrane transport protein expression in skeletal muscle.

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