Fast skeletal muscle troponin T (TNNT3) is an important component of the skeletal muscle contractile machinery. The precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) encoding TNNT3 is alternatively spliced, and changes in the pattern of TNNT3 splice form expression are associated with alterations in thin-filament calcium sensitivity and force production during muscle contraction and thereby regulate muscle function. Interestingly, during aging, the muscle force/cross-sectional area is reduced, suggesting that loss of mass does not completely account for the impaired muscle function that develops during the aging process. Therefore, in this study, we tested the hypothesis that age and changes in muscle loading are associated with alterations in Tnnt3 alternative splicing in the rat gastrocnemius muscle. We found that the relative abundance of several Tnnt3 splice forms varied significantly with age among 2-, 9-, and 18-month-old rats and that the pattern correlated with changes in body mass rather than muscle mass. Hindlimb immobilization for 7 days resulted in dramatic alterations in splice form relative abundance such that the pattern was similar to that observed in lighter animals. Remobilization for 7 days restored the splicing pattern toward that observed in the nonimmobilized limb, even though muscle mass had not yet begun to recover. In conclusion, the results suggest that Tnnt3 pre-mRNA alternative splicing is modulated rapidly (i.e., within days) in response to changes in the load placed on the muscle. Moreover, the results show that restoration of Tnnt3 alternative splicing to control patterns is initiated prior to an increase in muscle mass.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Physiology (medical)