The growth of skeletal muscle relies on a delicate equilibrium between protein synthesis and degradation; however, how proteostasis is managed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is largely unknown. Here, we report that the SEL1L-HRD1 ER-associated degradation (ERAD) complex, the primary molecular machinery that degrades misfolded proteins in the ER, is vital to maintain postnatal muscle growth and systemic energy balance. Myocyte-specific SEL1L deletion blunts the hypertrophic phase of muscle growth, resulting in a net zero gain of muscle mass during this developmental period and a 30% reduction in overall body growth. In addition, myocyte-specific SEL1L deletion triggered a systemic reprogramming of metabolism characterized by improved glucose sensitivity, enhanced beigeing of adipocytes, and resistance to diet-induced obesity. These effects were partially mediated by the upregulation of the myokine FGF21. These findings highlight the pivotal role of SEL1L-HRD1 ERAD activity in skeletal myocytes for postnatal muscle growth, and its physiological integration in maintaining whole-body energy balance.


Benedict Abdon, Yusheng Liang, Débora da Luz Scheffer, Mauricio Torres, Neha Shrestha, Rachel B. Reinert, You Lu, Brent Pederson, Amara Bugarin-Lapuz, Sander Kersten, Ling Qi


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