Skeletal muscle regeneration after injury is essential for maintaining muscle function throughout aging. ARHGEF3, a RhoA/B-specific GEF, negatively regulates myoblast differentiation through Akt signaling independently of its GEF activity in vitro. Here, we report ARHGEF3's role in skeletal muscle regeneration revealed by ARHGEF3-KO mice. These mice exhibit indiscernible phenotype under basal conditions. Upon acute injury, however, ARHGEF3 deficiency enhances the mass/fiber size and function of regenerating muscles in both young and regeneration-defective middle-aged mice. Surprisingly, these effects occur independently of Akt but via the GEF activity of ARHGEF3. Consistently, overexpression of ARHGEF3 inhibits muscle regeneration in a Rho-associated kinase-dependent manner. We further show that ARHGEF3 KO promotes muscle regeneration through activation of autophagy, a process that is also critical for maintaining muscle strength. Accordingly, ARHGEF3 depletion in old mice prevents muscle weakness by restoring autophagy. Taken together, our findings identify a link between ARHGEF3 and autophagy-related muscle pathophysiology.
- Skeletal muscle, Regeneration, Aging, Strength, Muscle quality, ARHGEF3, XPLN, Akt, RhoA, ROCK, Autophagy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)