Muscular dystrophies make up a group of genetic neuromuscular disorders that involve severe muscle wasting. TGF-β–activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an important signaling protein that regulates cell survival, growth, and inflammation. TAK1 has been recently found to promote myofiber growth in the skeletal muscle of adult mice. However, the role of TAK1 in muscle diseases remains poorly understood. In the present study, we have investigated how TAK1 affects the progression of dystrophic phenotype in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). TAK1 is highly activated in the dystrophic muscle of mdx mice during the peak necrotic phase. While targeted inducible inactivation of TAK1 inhibits myofiber injury in young mdx mice, it results in reduced muscle mass and contractile function. TAK1 inactivation also causes loss of muscle mass in adult mdx mice. By contrast, forced activation of TAK1 through overexpression of TAK1 and TAB1 induces myofiber growth without having any deleterious effect on muscle histopathology. Collectively, our results suggest that TAK1 is a positive regulator of skeletal muscle mass and that targeted regulation of TAK1 can suppress myonecrosis and ameliorate disease progression in DMD.


Anirban Roy, Tatiana E. Koike, Aniket S. Joshi, Meiricris Tomaz da Silva, Kavya Mathukumalli, Mingfu Wu, Ashok Kumar


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