Muscle-derived extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 are required for the maintenance of adult myofibers and their neuromuscular junctions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) pathway appears to be important for the development, maintenance, aging, and pathology of mammalian skeletal muscle. Yet no gene targeting of Erk1/2 in muscle fibers in vivo has been reported to date. We combined a germ line Erk1 mutation with Cre-loxP Erk2 inactivation in skeletal muscle to produce, for the first time, mice lacking ERK1/2 selectively in skeletal myofibers. Animals lacking muscle ERK1/2 displayed stunted postnatal growth, muscle weakness, and a shorter life span. Their muscles examined in this study, sternomastoid and tibialis anterior, displayed fragmented neuromuscular synapses and a mixture of modest fiber atrophy and loss but failed to show major changes in fiber type composition or absence of cell surface dystrophin. Whereas the lack of only ERK1 had no effects on the phenotypes studied, the lack of myofiber ERK2 explained synaptic fragmentation in the sternomastoid but not the tibialis anterior and a decrease in the expression of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) epsilon subunit gene mRNA in both muscles. A reduction in AChR protein was documented in line with the above mRNA results. Evidence of partial denervation was found in the sternomastoid but not the tibialis anterior. Thus, myofiber ERK1/2 are differentially required for the maintenance of myofibers and neuromuscular synapses in adult mice.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cell Biol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Seaberg, B., Henslee, G., Wang, S., Paez-Colasante, X., Landreth, G. E., & Rimer, M.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Seaberg, Bonnie||Henslee, Gabrielle||Wang, Shuo||Paez-Colasante, Ximena||Landreth, Gary E||Rimer, Mendell

publication date

  • April 2015