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1.  Srf 
Bioarchitecture  2012;2(3):88-90.
Adult skeletal muscles adapt their fiber size to workload. We show that serum response factor (Srf) is required for satellite cell-mediated hypertrophic muscle growth. Deletion of Srf from myofibers, and not satellite cells, blunts overload-induced hypertrophy, and impairs satellite cell proliferation and recruitment to pre-existing fibers. We reveal a gene network in which Srf within myofibers modulates interleukin-6 and cyclooxygenase-2/interleukin-4 expressions and therefore exerts a paracrine control of satellite cell functions. In Srf-deleted muscles, in vivo overexpression of interleukin-6 is sufficient to restore satellite cell proliferation, but not satellite cell fusion and overall growth. In contrast, cyclooxygenase-2/interleukin-4 overexpression rescues satellite cell recruitment and muscle growth without affecting satellite cell proliferation, identifying altered fusion as the limiting cellular event. These findings unravel a role for Srf in the translation of mechanical cues applied to myofibers into paracrine signals, which in turn will modulate satellite cell functions and support muscle growth.
PMCID: PMC3414385  PMID: 22880147
skeletal muscle; hypertrophy; satellite cells; paracrine; transcription factor
2.  Premature Aging in Skeletal Muscle Lacking Serum Response Factor 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3910.
Aging is associated with a progressive loss of muscle mass, increased adiposity and fibrosis that leads to sarcopenia. At the molecular level, muscle aging is known to alter the expression of a variety of genes but very little is known about the molecular effectors involved. SRF (Serum Response Factor) is a crucial transcription factor for muscle-specific gene expression and for post-natal skeletal muscle growth. To assess its role in adult skeletal muscle physiology, we developed a post-mitotic myofiber-specific and tamoxifen-inducible SRF knockout model. Five months after SRF loss, no obvious muscle phenotype was observed suggesting that SRF is not crucial for myofiber maintenance. However, mutant mice progressively developed IIB myofiber-specific atrophy accompanied by a metabolic switch towards a more oxidative phenotype, muscular lipid accumulation, sarcomere disorganization and fibrosis. After injury, mutant muscles exhibited an altered regeneration process, showing smaller regenerated fibers and persistent fibrosis. All of these features are strongly reminiscent of abnormalities encountered in aging skeletal muscle. Interestingly, we also observed an important age associated decrease in SRF expression in mice and human muscles. Altogether, these results suggest that a naturally occurring SRF down-regulation precedes and contributes to the muscle aging process. Indeed, triggering SRF loss in the muscles of mutant mice results in an accelerated aging process.
PMCID: PMC2593784  PMID: 19079548
3.  New Role for Serum Response Factor in Postnatal Skeletal Muscle Growth and Regeneration via the Interleukin 4 and Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Pathways†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(17):6664-6674.
Serum response factor (SRF) is a crucial transcriptional factor for muscle-specific gene expression. We investigated SRF function in adult skeletal muscles, using mice with a postmitotic myofiber-targeted disruption of the SRF gene. Mutant mice displayed severe skeletal muscle mass reductions due to a postnatal muscle growth defect resulting in highly hypotrophic adult myofibers. SRF-depleted myofibers also failed to regenerate following injury. Muscles lacking SRF had very low levels of muscle creatine kinase and skeletal alpha-actin (SKA) transcripts and displayed other alterations to the gene expression program, indicating an overall immaturity of mutant muscles. This loss of SKA expression, together with a decrease in beta-tropomyosin expression, contributed to myofiber growth defects, as suggested by the extensive sarcomere disorganization found in mutant muscles. However, we observed a downregulation of interleukin 4 (IL-4) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) expression in mutant myofibers which could also account for their defective growth and regeneration. Indeed, our demonstration of SRF binding to interleukin 4 and IGF-1 promoters in vivo suggests a new crucial role for SRF in pathways involved in muscle growth and regeneration.
PMCID: PMC1592825  PMID: 16914747
4.  Mutant Actins Demonstrate a Role for Unpolymerized Actin in Control of Transcription by Serum Response Factor 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(12):4167-4178.
Signal-induced activation of the transcription factor serum response factor (SRF) requires alterations in actin dynamics. SRF activity can be inhibited by ectopic expression of β-actin, either because actin itself participates in SRF regulation or as a consequence of cytoskeletal perturbations. To distinguish between these possibilities, we studied actin mutants. Three mutant actins, G13R, R62D, and a C-terminal VP16 fusion protein, were shown not to polymerize in vivo, as judged by two-hybrid, immunofluorescence, and cell fractionation studies. These actins effectively inhibited SRF activation, as did wild-type actin, which increased the G-actin level without altering the F:G-actin ratio. Physical interaction between SRF and actin was not detectable by mammalian or yeast two-hybrid assays, suggesting that SRF regulation involves an unidentified cofactor. SRF activity was not blocked upon inhibition of CRM1-mediated nuclear export by leptomycin B. Two actin mutants were identified, V159N and S14C, whose expression favored F-actin formation and which strongly activated SRF in the absence of external signals. These mutants seemed unable to inhibit SRF activity, because their expression did not reduce the absolute level of G-actin as assessed by DNase I binding. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that G-actin, or a subpopulation of it, plays a direct role in signal transduction to SRF.
PMCID: PMC138624  PMID: 12475943

Results 1-4 (4)