New thesis on molecular regulation of skeletal muscle development and metabolism following exercise training or in disease conditions
Rasmus Sjögren from the research group Integrative Physiology will defend his thesis "Regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism and development by small, non-coding RNAs : implications for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus" on June 13, 2018. Main supervisor is Juleen R. Zierath.
What's the main focus of your thesis?
The main focus of the thesis is on molecular regulation of skeletal muscle development and metabolism following exercise training or in disease conditions, for example in type 2 diabetes. More specifically, the thesis uncovers roles of microRNAs, short non-coding RNA species, in the regulation of skeletal muscle glucose and lipid metabolism and their roles as post-transcriptional regulators.
Which are the most important results?
Data presented in the thesis identifies altered microRNA expression during in vivo skeletal muscle cell differentiation, in muscle from type 2 diabetic patients, and following endurance exercise training. For examples, miR-29a and miR-29c have increased abundance in skeletal muscle from type 2 diabetic patients. When experimentally overexpressed, they induce insulin resistance and decrease glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. Additionally, we also identify increased expression of miR-19b-3p and miR-107 in skeletal muscle following two weeks of endurance exercise training. We identify miR-19b-3p and miR-107 as regulators of insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle, and find several target genes of these microRNAs. Thus, the thesis identifies altered expression of functionally relevant microRNAs in type 2 diabetes and following exercise training.
How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people's health?
Skeletal muscle has an important role in whole body metabolism. For example, a large amount of ingested glucose is metabolized within skeletal muscle following a meal and this function is disturbed in type 2 diabetes. Thus, increased understanding of molecular regulation of these processes in skeletal muscle can aid in the identification of therapeutic interventions.
What are your future ambitions?
I wish to continue with academic science and to continue to study molecular regulation of metabolism.