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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of contractile activity on mitochondrial transcription factor A expression in skeletal muscle.

Mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) is a nuclear-encoded gene product that is imported into mitochondria and is required for the transcription of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). We hypothesized that conditions known to produce mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle would be preceded by an increase in Tfam expression. Therefore, rat muscle was stimulated (10 Hz, 3 h/day). Tfam mRNA levels were significantly elevated (by 55%) at 4 days and returned to control levels at 14 days. Tfam import into intermyofibrillar (IMF) mitochondria was increased by 52 and 61% (P < 0.05) at 5 and 7 days, respectively. This corresponded to an increase in the level of import machinery components. Immunoblotting data indicated that IMF Tfam protein content was increased by 63% (P < 0.05) at 7 days of stimulation. This was associated with a 49% (P < 0.05) increase in complex formation at the mtDNA promoter and a 65% (P < 0.05) increase in the levels of a mitochondrial transcript, cytochrome-c oxidase (COX) subunit III. Similarly, COX enzyme activity was elevated by 71% (P < 0.05) after 7 days of contractile activity. These results indicate that early events in mitochondrial biogenesis include increases in Tfam mRNA, followed by accelerations in mitochondrial import and increased Tfam content, which correspond with increased binding to the mtDNA promoter region. This was accompanied by increased mitochondrial transcript levels and elevated COX activity. These data support the role of Tfam as a regulatory protein involved in contractile activity-induced mitochondrial biogenesis.[1]


  1. Effects of contractile activity on mitochondrial transcription factor A expression in skeletal muscle. Gordon, J.W., Rungi, A.A., Inagaki, H., Hood, D.A. J. Appl. Physiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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