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Background: Mitochondria have an essential role in regulating metabolism and integrate environmental and physiological signals to affect processes such as cellular bioenergetics and response to stress. In the metabolically active skeletal muscle, mitochondrial biogenesis is one important component contributing to a broad set of mitochondrial adaptations occurring in response to signals, which converge on the biogenesis transcriptional regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α), and is central to the beneficial effects of exercise in skeletal muscle. We investigated the role of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) taurine-upregulated gene 1 (TUG1), which interacts with PGC-1α in regulating transcriptional responses to exercise in skeletal muscle. Results: In human skeletal muscle, TUG1 gene expression was upregulated post-exercise and was also positively correlated with the increase in PGC-1α gene expression (PPARGC1A). Tug1 knockdown (KD) in differentiating mouse myotubes led to decreased Ppargc1a gene expression, impaired mitochondrial respiration and morphology, and enhanced myosin heavy chain slow isoform protein expression. In response to a Ca2+-mediated stimulus, Tug1 KD prevented an increase in Ppargc1a expression. RNA sequencing revealed that Tug1 KD impacted mitochondrial Ca2+ transport genes and several downstream PGC-1α targets. Finally, Tug1 KD modulated the expression of ~300 genes that were upregulated in response to an in vitro model of exercise in myotubes, including genes involved in regulating myogenesis. Conclusions: We found that TUG1 is upregulated in human skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise, and mechanistically, Tug1 regulates transcriptional networks associated with mitochondrial calcium handling, muscle differentiation and myogenesis. These data demonstrate that lncRNA Tug1 exerts regulation over fundamental aspects of skeletal muscle biology and response to exercise stimuli.
Trewin, A. J., Silver, J., Dillon, H. T., Della Gatta, P. A., Parker, L., Hiam, D. S., … Lamon, S. (2022). Long non-coding RNA Tug1 modulates mitochondrial and myogenic responses to exercise in skeletal muscle. BMC Biology, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-022-01366-4
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