Effect of unloading on type i myosin heavy chain gene regulation in rat soleus muscle
Giger, J.M.; Haddad, F.; Qin, A.X.; Zeng, M.; Baldwin, K.M.
Journal of Applied Physiology 98(4): 1185-1194
Slow-twitch soleus, a weight-bearing hindlimb muscle, predominantly expresses the type I myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform. However, under unloading conditions, a transition in MHC expression occurs from slow type I toward the fast-type isoforms. Transcriptional processes are believed to be involved in this adaptation. To test the hypothesis that the downregulation of MHC1 in soleus muscle following unloading is controlled through cis element(s) in the proximal region of the promoter, the MHC1 promoter was injected into soleus muscles of control rats and those subjected to 7 days of hindlimb suspension. Mutation analyses of six putative regulatory elements within the -408-bp region demonstrated that three elements, an A/T-rich, the proximal muscle-type CAT (betae3), and an E-box (-63 bp), play an important role in the basal level of MHC1 gene activity in the control soleus and function as unloading-responsive elements. Gel mobility shift assays revealed a diminished level of complex formation of the betae3 and E-box probes with nuclear extract from hindlimb suspension soleus compared with control soleus. Supershift assays indicated that transcriptional enhancer factor 1 and myogenin factors bind the betae3 and E-box elements, respectively, in the control soleus. Western blots showed that the relative concentrations of the transcriptional enhancer factor 1 and myogenin factors were significantly attenuated in the unloaded soleus compared with the control muscle. We conclude that the downregulation of MHC1 in response to unloading is due, in part, to a significant decrease in the concentration of these transcription factors available for binding the positive regulatory elements.