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

Inhibitors of the proteasome reduce the accelerated proteolysis in atrophying rat skeletal muscles.

Several observations have suggested that the enhanced proteolysis and atrophy of skeletal muscle in various pathological states is due primarily to activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. To test this idea, we investigated whether peptide aldehyde inhibitors of the proteasome, N-acetyl-leucyl-leucyl-norleucinal (LLN), or the more potent CBZ-leucyl-leucyl-leucinal (MG132) suppressed proteolysis in incubated rat skeletal muscles. These agents (e.g., MG132 at 10 microM) inhibited nonlysosomal protein breakdown by up to 50% (P < 0.01), and this effect was rapidly reversed upon removal of the inhibitor. The peptide aldehydes did not alter protein synthesis or amino acid pools, but improved overall protein balance in the muscle. Upon treatment with MG132, ubiquitin-conjugated proteins accumulated in the muscle. The inhibition of muscle proteolysis correlated with efficacy against the proteasome, although these agents could also inhibit calpain-dependent proteolysis induced with Ca2+. These inhibitors had much larger effects on proteolysis in atrophying muscles than in controls. In the denervated soleus undergoing atrophy, the increase in ATP-dependent proteolysis was reduced 70% by MG132 (P < 0.001). Similarly, the rise in muscle proteolysis induced by administering thyroid hormones was reduced 40-70% by the inhibitors. Finally, in rats made septic by cecal puncture, the increase in muscle proteolysis was completely blocked by MG132. Thus, the enhanced proteolysis in many catabolic states (including denervation, hyperthyroidism, and sepsis) is due to a proteasome-dependent pathway, and inhibition of proteasome function may be a useful approach to reduce muscle wasting.[1]


  1. Inhibitors of the proteasome reduce the accelerated proteolysis in atrophying rat skeletal muscles. Tawa, N.E., Odessey, R., Goldberg, A.L. J. Clin. Invest. (1997) [Pubmed]
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