Background: In a previous study, we showed that consumption of diets enriched in saturated fatty acids causes changes in alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs encoding a number of proteins in rat skeletal muscle, including the one encoding skeletal muscle Troponin T (Tnnt3). However, whether saturated fatty acids act directly on muscle cells to modulate alternative pre-mRNA splicing was not assessed. Moreover, the signaling pathway through which saturated fatty acids act to promote changes in alternative splicing is unknown. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to characterize the signaling pathway through which saturated fatty acids act to modulate Tnnt3 alternative splicing. Methods: The effects of treatment of L6 myotubes with saturated (palmitate), mono- (oleate), or polyunsaturated (linoleate) fatty acids on alternative splicing of pre-mRNA was assessed using Tnnt3 as a marker gene. Results: Palmitate treatment caused a two-fold change (p < 0.05) in L6 myotube Tnnt3 alternative splicing whereas treatment with either oleate or linoleate had minimal effects compared to control myotubes. Treatment with a downstream metabolite of palmitate, ceramide, had effects similar to palmitate on Tnnt3 alternative splicing and inhibition of de novo ceramide biosynthesis blocked the palmitate-induced alternative splicing changes. The effects of palmitate and ceramide on Tnnt3 alternative splicing were accompanied by a 40-50% reduction in phosphorylation of Akt on S473. However, inhibition of de novo ceramide biosynthesis did not prevent palmitate-induced Akt dephosphorylation, suggesting that palmitate may act in an Akt-independent manner to modulate Tnnt3 alternative splicing. Instead, pre-treatment with okadaic acid at concentrations that selectively inhibit protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) blocked both palmitate- and ceramide-induced changes in Tnnt3 alternative splicing, suggesting that palmitate and ceramide act through PP2A to modulate Tnnt3 alternative splicing. Conclusions: Overall, the data show that fatty acid saturation level and ceramides are important factors modulating alternative pre-mRNA splicing through activation of PP2A.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics