Metabolomic Analysis of the Skeletal Muscle of Mice Overexpressing PGC-1α

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 26;10(6):e0129084. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129084. eCollection 2015.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) is a coactivator of various nuclear receptors and other transcription factors whose expression increases in the skeletal muscle during exercise. We have previously made transgenic mice overexpressing PGC-1α in the skeletal muscle (PGC-1α-Tg mice). PGC-1α upregulates the expression of genes associated with red fibers, mitochondrial function, fatty acid oxidation, and branched chain amino acid (BCAA) degradation. However, global analyses of the actual metabolic products have not been investigated. In this study, we conducted metabolomic analysis of the skeletal muscle in PGC-1α-Tg mice by capillary electrophoresis with electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis showed clearly distinguishable changes in the metabolites between PGC-1α-Tg and wild-type control mice. Changes were observed in metabolite levels of various metabolic pathways such as the TCA cycle, pentose phosphate pathway, nucleotide synthesis, purine nucleotide cycle, and amino acid metabolism, including BCAA and β-alanine. Namely, metabolic products of the TCA cycle increased in PGC-1α-Tg mice, with increased levels of citrate (2.3-fold), succinate (2.2-fold), fumarate (2.8-fold), and malate (2.3-fold) observed. Metabolic products associated with the pentose phosphate pathway and nucleotide biosynthesis also increased in PGC-1α-Tg mice. Meanwhile, BCAA levels decreased (Val, 0.7-fold; Leu, 0.8-fold; and Ile, 0.7-fold), and Glu (3.1-fold) and Asp (2.2-fold) levels increased. Levels of β-alanine and related metabolites were markedly decreased in PGC-1α-Tg mice. Coordinated regulation of the TCA cycle and amino acid metabolism, including BCAA, suggests that PGC-1α plays important roles in energy metabolism. Moreover, our metabolomics data showing the activation of the purine nucleotide pathway, malate-aspartate shuttle, as well as creatine metabolism, which are known to be active during exercise, further suggests that PGC-1α regulates metabolism in exercise. Thus, we demonstrated the roles of PGC-1α in the skeletal muscle at the metabolite level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Male
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Nucleotides / biosynthesis
  • Pentose Phosphate Pathway
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Amino Acids
  • Nucleotides
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors

Grant support

Y. Kamei and S. Miura were supported by the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), and “Technologies for creating next-generation agriculture, forestry and fisheries” (funding agency: Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, NARO). Y. Kamei and S. Miura were also supported by grants-in-aid for scientific research (KAKENHI) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT, Tokyo) and The Uehara Memorial Foundation (Tokyo, Japan). S. Miura was supported by The Kao Research Council for the Study of Healthcare Science (Tokyo, Japan), and a University of Shizuoka Grant for Scientific and Educational Research. Y. Hatazawa is a Research Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.