Defective Acetylcholine Receptor Subunit Switch Precedes Atrophy of Slow-Twitch Skeletal Muscle Fibers Lacking ERK1/2 Kinases in Soleus Muscle Academic Article uri icon


  • To test the role of extracellular-signal regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) in slow-twitch, type 1 skeletal muscle fibers, we studied the soleus muscle in mice genetically deficient for myofiber ERK1/2. Young adult mutant soleus was drastically wasted, with highly atrophied type 1 fibers, denervation at most synaptic sites, induction of "fetal" acetylcholine receptor gamma subunit (AChRγ), reduction of "adult" AChRε, and impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and function. In weanlings, fiber morphology and mitochondrial markers were mostly normal, yet AChRγ upregulation and AChRε downregulation were observed. Synaptic sites with fetal AChRs in weanling muscle were ~3% in control and ~40% in mutants, with most of the latter on type 1 fibers. These results suggest that: (1) ERK1/2 are critical for slow-twitch fiber growth; (2) a defective γ/ε-AChR subunit switch, preferentially at synapses on slow fibers, precedes wasting of mutant soleus; (3) denervation is likely to drive this wasting, and (4) the neuromuscular synapse is a primary subcellular target for muscle ERK1/2 function in vivo.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, S., Seaberg, B., Paez-Colasante, X., & Rimer, M.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • December 2016