Lack of skeletal muscle liver kinase B1 alters gene expression, mitochondrial content, inflammation and oxidative stress without affecting high-fat diet-induced obesity or insulin resistance

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 Aug 1;1866(8):165805. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165805. Epub 2020 Apr 24.


Ad libitum high-fat diet (HFD) induces obesity and skeletal muscle metabolic dysfunction. Liver kinase B1 (LKB1) regulates skeletal muscle metabolism by controlling the AMP-activated protein kinase family, but its importance in regulating muscle gene expression and glucose tolerance in obese mice has not been established. The purpose of this study was to determine how the lack of LKB1 in skeletal muscle (KO) affects gene expression and glucose tolerance in HFD-fed, obese mice. KO and littermate control wild-type (WT) mice were fed a standard diet or HFD for 14 weeks. RNA sequencing, and subsequent analysis were performed to assess mitochondrial content and respiration, inflammatory status, glucose and insulin tolerance, and muscle anabolic signaling. KO did not affect body weight gain on HFD, but heavily impacted mitochondria-, oxidative stress-, and inflammation-related gene expression. Accordingly, mitochondrial protein content and respiration were suppressed while inflammatory signaling and markers of oxidative stress were elevated in obese KO muscles. KO did not affect glucose or insulin tolerance. However, fasting serum insulin and skeletal muscle insulin signaling were higher in the KO mice. Furthermore, decreased muscle fiber size in skmLKB1-KO mice was associated with increased general protein ubiquitination and increased expression of several ubiquitin ligases, but not muscle ring finger 1 or atrogin-1. Taken together, these data suggest that the lack of LKB1 in skeletal muscle does not exacerbate obesity or insulin resistance in mice on a HFD, despite impaired mitochondrial content and function and elevated inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress.

Keywords: AMPK; Atrophy; Inflammation; Mitochondria; Obesity; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase / genetics
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Ontology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / deficiency
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Insulin
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Stk11 protein, mouse
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Glucose