Skeletal muscle–specific knockout of DEP domain containing 5 protein increases mTORC1 signaling, muscle cell hypertrophy, and mitochondrial respiration

Ted G. Graber, Christopher S. Fry, Camille R. Brightwell, Tatiana Moro, Rosario Maroto, Nisha Bhattarai, Craig Porter, Maki Wakamiya, Blake B. Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


mTORC1 regulates protein synthesis and in turn is regulated by growth factors, energy status, and amino acid availability. In kidney cell (HEK293-T) culture, the GAP activity toward RAG (GATOR1) protein complex suppresses activation of the RAG A/B–RAG C/D heterodimer when amino acids are insufficient. During amino acid sufficiency, the RAG heterodimer recruits mTORC1 to the lysosomal membrane where its interaction with Ras homolog enriched in brain (Rheb) stimulates mTORC1’s kinase activity. The DEP domain containing 5 (DEPDC5) protein, a GATOR1 subunit, causes familial focal epilepsy when mutated, and global knockout of the Depdc5 gene is embryonically lethal. To study the function of DEPDC5 in skeletal muscle, we generated a muscle-specific inducible Depdc5 knockout mouse, hypothesizing that knocking out Depdc5 in muscle would make mTORC1 constitutively active, causing hypertrophy and improving muscle function. Examining mTORC1 signaling, morphology, mitochondrial respiratory capacity, contractile function, and applied physical function (e.g. rotarod, treadmill, grip test, and wheel running), we observed that mTORC1 activity was significantly higher in knockout (KO) mice, indicated by the increased phosphorylation of mTOR and its downstream effectors (by 118% for p-mTOR/mTOR, 114% for p-S6K1/S6K1, and 35% for p-4E-BP1/4E-BP1). The KO animals also exhibited soleus muscle cell hypertrophy and a 2.5-fold increase in mitochondrial respiratory capacity. However, contrary to our hypothesis, neither physical nor contractile function improved. In conclusion, DEPDC5 depletion in adult skeletal muscle removes GATOR1 inhibition of mTORC1, resulting in muscle hypertrophy and increased mitochondrial respiration, but does not improve overall muscle quality and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4091-4102
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health NCATS CTSA TL1TR001440 NSRA Fellowship and NIA P30 AG024832 Pilot/Developmen-tal grants (to T. G. G.), NIA R56 AG051267 (to B. B. R.), NIAMS R01 AR072061 (to C. S. F.), NIA T32 AG000270 (to C. R. B.), and NCATSS CTSA KL2 scholar award KL2TR001441 (to C. P.) and by Shriners Hospitals for Children Grant 84090 (to C. P.). The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Graber et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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