Skeletal muscle mass is regulated by a complex array of signaling pathways. TGF-β–activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an important signaling protein, which regulates context-dependent activation of multiple intracellular pathways. However, the role of TAK1 in the regulation of skeletal muscle mass remains unknown. Here, we report that inducible inactivation of TAK1 causes severe muscle wasting, leading to kyphosis, in both young and adult mice.. Inactivation of TAK1 inhibits protein synthesis and induces proteolysis, potentially through upregulating the activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy. Phosphorylation and enzymatic activity of AMPK are increased, whereas levels of phosphorylated mTOR and p38 MAPK are diminished upon inducible inactivation of TAK1 in skeletal muscle. In addition, targeted inactivation of TAK1 leads to the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and oxidative stress in skeletal muscle of adult mice. Inhibition of TAK1 does not attenuate denervation-induced muscle wasting in adult mice. Finally, TAK1 activity is highly upregulated during overload-induced skeletal muscle growth, and inactivation of TAK1 prevents myofiber hypertrophy in response to functional overload. Overall, our study demonstrates that TAK1 is a key regulator of skeletal muscle mass and oxidative metabolism.


Sajedah M. Hindi, Shuichi Sato, Guangyan Xiong, Kyle R. Bohnert, Andrew A. Gibb, Yann S. Gallot, Joseph D. McMillan, Bradford G. Hill, Shizuka Uchida, Ashok Kumar


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