Indinavir impairs protein synthesis and phosphorylations of MAPKs in mouse C2C12 myocytes

Ly Q. Hong-Brown, C. Randell Brown, Charles H. Lang

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14 Scopus citations


Anti-retroviral therapy promotes clinical, immunologic, and virologic improvement in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. Whereas this therapy adversely affects carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, the effects of anti-retroviral drugs on muscle protein synthesis and degradation have not been reported. To examine these processes, we treated C2C12 myocytes with increasing concentrations of the protease inhibitor indinavir for 1 or 2 days. Treatment of myocytes with a therapeutic concentration of indinavir (20 μM) for 24 h decreased basal protein synthesis by 18%, whereas a 42% decline was observed after 48 h. A similar decrement, albeit quantitatively smaller, was detected with other protease inhibitors. Indinavir did not alter the rate of proteolysis. Likewise, indinavir did not impair the anabolic effect of insulin-like growth factor-I on protein synthesis. Mechanistically, indinavir decreased the phosphorylation of the S6 ribosomal protein (rpS6), and this reduction was associated with a decreased phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase and p90rsk as well as the upstream regulators ERK1/2 and MEK1/2. Indinavir also decreased the phosphorylation of Mnk1 and its upstream effectors, p38 MAPK and ERK1/2. Indinavir did not affect the phosphorylation of mTOR or 4E-BP1, but it did decrease the amount of the active eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4G-eIF4E complex. In conclusion, indinavir decreased protein synthesis in myocytes. This decrease was associated with the disruption of the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways and a reduction in both the level of functional eIF4F complex and rpS6 phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1482-C1492
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 56-5
StatePublished - Nov 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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