Myofibrillar protein breakdown was evaluated by measuring the release of N tau-methylhistidine by isolated rat skeletal muscles or perfused rat muscles in the presence of a variety of agents known to affect Na+ flux. Total cell proteolysis was evaluated simultaneously by measuring tyrosine release by muscles after the inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide. Treatment of muscles with the Na+ ionophore monensin or inhibitors of Na+-K+ ATPase (ouabain, digoxin or vanadate) decreased N tau-methylhistidine release by muscles by 21-35%. A phorbol ester (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate) as well as a synthetic diacylglycerol known to activate protein kinase C and a Na+/H+ antiport also decreased N tau-methylhistidine release by muscles. Removal of extracellular Na+ blocked the ability of these agents to attenuate N tau-methylhistidine release by muscles, suggesting that their effectiveness required a change in Na+ flux. In contrast with N tau-methylhistidine release by muscles, these agents, except for monensin, did not effect the release of tyrosine, suggesting that they attenuate specifically the breakdown of myofibrillar proteins. Overall these results indicate a link between Na+ and the regulation of protein breakdown in rat skeletal muscle, whereby an influx of Na+ can result in a decrease in myofibrillar proteolysis. Left unresolved is whether phospholipid hydrolysis is involved in this scheme.
- © 1987 London: The Biochemical Society