p300 Acetyltransferase activity differentially regulates the localization and activity of the FOXO homologues in skeletal muscle

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Jun;300(6):C1490-501. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00255.2010. Epub 2011 Mar 9.


The Forkhead Box O (FOXO) transcription factors regulate diverse cellular processes, and in skeletal muscle are both necessary and sufficient for muscle atrophy. Although the regulation of FOXO by Akt is well evidenced in skeletal muscle, the current study demonstrates that FOXO is also regulated in muscle via the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activities of p300/CREB-binding protein (CBP). Transfection of rat soleus muscle with a dominant-negative p300, which lacks HAT activity and inhibits endogenous p300 HAT activity, increased FOXO reporter activity and induced transcription from the promoter of a bona fide FOXO target gene, atrogin-1. Conversely, increased HAT activity via transfection of either wild-type (WT) p300 or WT CBP repressed FOXO activation in vivo in response to muscle disuse, and in C2C12 cells in response to dexamethasone and acute starvation. Importantly, manipulation of HAT activity differentially regulated the expression of various FOXO target genes. Cotransfection of FOXO1, FOXO3a, or FOXO4 with the p300 constructs further identified p300 HAT activity to also differentially regulate the activity of the FOXO homologues. Markedly, decreased HAT activity strongly increased FOXO3a transcriptional activity, while increased HAT activity repressed FOXO3a activity and prevented its nuclear localization in response to nutrient deprivation. In contrast, p300 increased FOXO1 nuclear localization. In summary, this study provides the first evidence to support the acetyltransferase activities of p300/CBP in regulating FOXO signaling in skeletal muscle and suggests that acetylation may be an important mechanism to differentially regulate the FOXO homologues and dictate which FOXO target genes are activated in response to varying atrophic stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors / genetics
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Protein Isoforms
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • p300-CBP-associated factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt