Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is required for a late-stage fusion process during skeletal myotube maturation

In Hyun Park, Jie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skeletal myogenesis is a well orchestrated cascade of events regulated by multiple signaling pathways, one of which is recently characterized by its sensitivity to the bacterial macrolide rapamycin. Previously we reported that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates the initiation of the differentiation program in mouse C2C12 myoblasts by controlling the expression of insulin-like growth factor-11 in a kinase-independent manner. Here we provide experimental evidence suggesting that a different mode of mTOR signaling regulates skeletal myogenesis at a later stage. In the absence of endogenous mTOR function in C2C12 cells treated . with rapamycin, a kinase-inactive mTOR fully supports myogenin expression, but causes a delay in contractile protein expression. Myoblasts fuse to form nascent myotubes in the absence of kinase-active mTOR, whereas the formation of mature myotubes by further fusion requires the catalytic activity of mTOR. Therefore, the two stages of myocyte fusion are molecularly separable at the level of mTOR signaling. In addition, our data suggest that a factor secreted into the culture medium is responsible for mediating the function of mTOR in regulating the late-stage fusion leading to mature myotubes. Furthermore, taking advantage of the unique features of cells stably expressing a mutant mTOR, we have performed cDNA microarray analysis to compare global gene expression profiles between mature and nascent myotubes, the results of which have implicated classes of genes and revealed candidate regulators in myotube maturation or functions of mature myotubes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32009-32017
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 9 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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