Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α) are two fundamental factors involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle cell metabolism. nNOS exists as several alternatively spliced variants, each having a specific pattern of subcellular localisation. Nitric oxide (NO) functions as a second messenger in signal transduction pathways that lead to the expression of metabolic genes involved in oxidative metabolism, vasodilatation and skeletal muscle contraction. PGC-1α is a transcriptional coactivator and represents a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis by promoting the transcription of mitochondrial genes. PGC-1α can be induced during physical exercise, and it plays a key role in coordinating the oxidation of intracellular fatty acids with mitochondrial remodelling. Several lines of evidence demonstrate that NO could act as a key regulator of PGC-1α expression; however, the link between nNOS and PGC-1α in skeletal muscle remains only poorly understood. In this Commentary, we review important metabolic pathways that are governed by nNOS and PGC-1α, and aim to highlight how they might intersect and cooperatively regulate skeletal muscle mitochondrial and lipid energetic metabolism and contraction.
Keywords: Lipid metabolism; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial metabolism; Nitric oxide.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.