[Abstract] mRNA-Seq reveals complex patterns of gene regulation & expression in mouse skeletal muscle associated with calorie restriction

Joseph M. Dhahbi, Hani Atamna, Dario Boffelli, David I. K. Martin, Stephen R. Spindler. Physiological Genomics March 2012 vol. 44 no. 6 331-344. 21 March 2012.

Abstract: mRNA-Seq reveals complex patterns of gene regulation and expression in the mouse skeletal muscle transcriptome associated with calorie restriction

Sarcopenia is an age-associated loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength that increases the risk of disability. Calorie restriction (CR), the consumption of fewer calories while maintaining adequate nutrition, mitigates sarcopenia and many other age-related diseases. To identify potential mechanisms by which CR preserves skeletal muscle integrity during aging, we used mRNA-Seq for deep characterization of gene regulation and mRNA abundance in skeletal muscle of old mice compared with old mice subjected to CR. mRNA-Seq revealed complex CR-associated changes in expression of mRNA isoforms, many of which occur without a change in total message abundance and thus would not be detected by methods other than mRNA-Seq. Functional annotation of differentially expressed genes reveals CR-associated upregulation of pathways involved in energy metabolism and lipid biosynthesis, and downregulation of pathways mediating protein breakdown and oxidative stress, consistent with earlier microarray-based studies. CR-associated changes not noted in previous studies involved downregulation of genes controlling actin cytoskeletal structures and muscle development. These CR-associated changes reflect generally healthier muscle, consistent with CR’s mitigation of sarcopenia. mRNA-Seq generates a rich picture of the changes in gene expression associated with CR, and may facilitate identification of genes that are primary mediators of CR’s effects.