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A map of the phosphoproteomic alterations that occur after a bout of maximal‐intensity contractions

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The Journal of Physiology

Published online on


Key points Mechanical signals play a critical role in the regulation of muscle mass, but the molecules that sense mechanical signals and convert this stimulus into the biochemical events that regulate muscle mass remain ill‐defined. Here we report a mass spectrometry‐based workflow to study the changes in protein phosphorylation that occur in mouse skeletal muscle 1 h after a bout of electrically evoked maximal‐intensity contractions (MICs). Our dataset provides the first comprehensive map of the MIC‐regulated phosphoproteome. Using unbiased bioinformatics approaches, we demonstrate that our dataset leads to the identification of many well‐known MIC‐regulated signalling pathways, as well as to a plethora of novel MIC‐regulated events. We expect that our dataset will serve as a fundamentally important resource for muscle biologists, and help to lay the foundation for entirely new hypotheses in the field. Abstract The maintenance of skeletal muscle mass is essential for health and quality of life. It is well recognized that maximal‐intensity contractions, such as those which occur during resistance exercise, promote an increase in muscle mass. Yet, the molecules that sense the mechanical information and convert it into the signalling events (e.g. phosphorylation) that drive the increase in muscle mass remain undefined. Here we describe a phosphoproteomics workflow to examine the effects of electrically evoked maximal‐intensity contractions (MICs) on protein phosphorylation in mouse skeletal muscle. While a preliminary phosphoproteomics experiment successfully identified a number of MIC‐regulated phosphorylation events, a large proportion of these identifications were present on highly abundant myofibrillar proteins. We subsequently incorporated a centrifugation‐based fractionation step to deplete the highly abundant myofibrillar proteins and performed a second phosphoproteomics experiment. In total, we identified 5983 unique phosphorylation sites of which 663 were found to be regulated by MIC. GO term enrichment, phosphorylation motif analyses, and kinase‐substrate predictions indicated that the MIC‐regulated phosphorylation sites were chiefly modified by mTOR, as well as multiple isoforms of the MAPKs and CAMKs. Moreover, a high proportion of the regulated phosphorylation sites were found on proteins that are associated with the Z‐disc, with over 74% of the Z‐disc proteins experiencing robust changes in phosphorylation. Finally, our analyses revealed that the phosphorylation state of two Z‐disc kinases (striated muscle‐specific serine/threonine protein kinase and obscurin) was dramatically altered by MIC, and we propose ways these kinases could play a fundamental role in skeletal muscle mechanotransduction.