FGGY carbohydrate kinase domain containing is expressed and alternatively spliced in skeletal muscle and attenuates MAP kinase and Akt signaling

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Skeletal muscle atrophy can result from a range of physiological conditions, including denervation, immobilization, hindlimb unweighting, and aging. To better characterize the molecular genetic events of atrophy, a microarray analysis revealed that FGGY carbohydrate kinase domain containing (Fggy) is expressed in skeletal muscle and is induced in response to denervation. Bioinformatic analysis of the Fggy gene locus revealed two validated isoforms with alternative transcription initiation sites that we have designated Fggy-L-552 and Fggy-S-387. Additionally, we cloned two novel alternative splice variants, designated Fggy-L-482 and Fggy-S-344, from cultured muscle cells suggesting that at least four Fggy splice variants are expressed in skeletal muscle. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed using RNA isolated from muscle cells and primers designed to distinguish the four alternative Fggy transcripts and found that the Fggy-L transcripts are more highly expressed during myoblast differentiation, while the Fggy-S transcripts show relatively stable expression in proliferating myoblasts and differentiated myotubes. Confocal fluorescent microscopy revealed that the Fggy-L variants appear to localize evenly throughout the cytoplasm, while the Fggy-S variants produce a more punctuate cytoplasmic localization pattern in proliferating muscle cells. Finally, ectopic expression of Fggy-L-552 and Fggy-S-387 resulted in inhibition of muscle cell differentiation and attenuation of the MAP kinase and Akt signaling pathways. The identification and characterization of novel genes such as Fggy helps to improve our understanding of the molecular and cellular events that lead to atrophy and may eventually result in the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of muscle wasting.

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