Synergistic and antagonistic interplay between myostatin gene expression and physical activity levels on gene expression patterns in triceps Brachii muscles of C57/BL6 mice

PLoS One. 2015 Feb 24;10(2):e0116828. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116828. eCollection 2015.


Levels of myostatin expression and physical activity have both been associated with transcriptome dysregulation and skeletal muscle hypertrophy. The transcriptome of triceps brachii muscles from male C57/BL6 mice corresponding to two genotypes (wild-type and myostatin-reduced) under two conditions (high and low physical activity) was characterized using RNA-Seq. Synergistic and antagonistic interaction and ortholog modes of action of myostatin genotype and activity level on genes and gene pathways in this skeletal muscle were uncovered; 1,836, 238, and 399 genes exhibited significant (FDR-adjusted P-value < 0.005) activity-by-genotype interaction, genotype and activity effects, respectively. The most common differentially expressed profiles were (i) inactive myostatin-reduced relative to active and inactive wild-type, (ii) inactive myostatin-reduced and active wild-type, and (iii) inactive myostatin-reduced and inactive wild-type. Several remarkable genes and gene pathways were identified. The expression profile of nascent polypeptide-associated complex alpha subunit (Naca) supports a synergistic interaction between activity level and myostatin genotype, while Gremlin 2 (Grem2) displayed an antagonistic interaction. Comparison between activity levels revealed expression changes in genes encoding for structural proteins important for muscle function (including troponin, tropomyosin and myoglobin) and for fatty acid metabolism (some linked to diabetes and obesity, DNA-repair, stem cell renewal, and various forms of cancer). Conversely, comparison between genotype groups revealed changes in genes associated with G1-to-S-phase transition of the cell cycle of myoblasts and the expression of Grem2 proteins that modulate the cleavage of the myostatin propeptide. A number of myostatin-feedback regulated gene products that are primarily regulatory were uncovered, including microRNA impacting central functions and Piezo proteins that make cationic current-controlling mechanosensitive ion channels. These important findings extend hypotheses of myostatin and physical activity master regulation of genes and gene pathways, impacting medical practices and therapies associated with muscle atrophy in humans and companion animal species and genome-enabled selection practices applied to food-production animal species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Myostatin / genetics
  • Myostatin / metabolism*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*


  • Cytokines
  • Grem2 protein, mouse
  • Ion Channels
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Myostatin
  • Piezo1 protein, mouse
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • nascent-polypeptide-associated complex