Examining the Influence of Muscle Fiber Type on Protein Turnover Signaling in Growing Pigs

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Virginia Tech


Postnatal skeletal muscle growth occurs through myonuclear accretion and high protein turnover rate. While fiber type composition of the muscle could affect protein turnover rate, less is known about how fiber type influences the regulation of protein synthesis and degradation signaling pathways. Thus, the hypothesis of this work was that variation in fiber type composition will differentially affect the regulation of signaling pathways related to protein turnover in skeletal muscle hypertrophy in growing pigs. Downregulated protein synthesis signaling and reduced expression of type II MyHC isoforms have been reported in skeletal muscles of low birth weight (LBWT) neonatal pigs. Therefore, we sought to determine whether these changes are sustained until weaning and would explain the reduction in LBWT pig growth compared to their normal birth weight (NBWT) sibling at weaning. Another objective was to determine whether the regulation of protein turnover signaling pathways are correlated to fiber type differences in skeletal muscles. Our data suggest that the longissimus dorsi (LD, glycolytic) muscle of LBWT pigs experienced compensatory growth while the soleus (oxidative) remained proportionally smaller. Growth of the LD was accompanied by upregulation of translation initiation. Additionally, there was no difference in expression of MyHC isoforms between NBWT and LBWT pigs. These data suggest the rapid growth of the LD of LBWT pigs may be attributed to an upregulation of protein synthesis signaling and occurred only in glycolytic muscles. A caveat in LBWT pig model is that the reduction in type II MyHC at birth is not the only factor that could influence muscle growth, and that other factors may have confounded our results. This is why we aimed to use β-adrenergic agonist as a means to induce a shift fiber type in muscles to a more glycolytic phenotype. Our objective was to determine the influence of the β-adrenergic agonist Ractopamine (RAC) induced slow-to-fast fiber type transformation on the regulation of protein synthesis and degradation pathways. Although supplementation improved translational capacity, enhanced S6K1 phosphorylation, and reduced the abundance of calcium-dependent proteases, RAC feeding had no effect on body or muscle weights. These results suggest that a fiber type transformation without other physiological influences does not alter protein turnover signaling in favor of hypertrophy in growing pigs.



pig, muscle fiber type, skeletal muscle, protein synthesis, protein degradation