The cathepsin L gene is a direct target of FOXO1 in skeletal muscle

Yoshihiro Yamazaki, Yasutomi Kamei, Satoshi Sugita, Fumiko Akaike, Sayaka Kanai, Shinji Miura, Yukio Hirata, Bruce R. Troen, Tadahiro Kitamura, Ichizo Nishino, Takayoshi Suganami, Osamu Ezaki, Yoshihiro Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


FOXO1 (forkhead box O1), a forkhead-type transcription factor whose gene expression is up-regulated in the skeletal muscle during starvation, appears to be a key molecule of energy metabolism and skeletal muscle atrophy. Cathepsin L, a lysosomal proteinase whose expression is also up-regulated in the skeletal muscle during starvation, is induced in transgenic mice overexpressing FOXO1 relative to wild-type littermates. In the present study, we conducted in vivo and in vitro experiments focusing on FOXO1 regulation of Ctsl (cathepsin L gene; CTSL1 in humans) expression in the skeletal muscle. During fasting and refeeding of C57BL/6 mice, Ctsl was regulated in parallel with FOXO1 in the skeletal muscle. Fasting-induced Ctsl expression was attenuated in transgenic mice overexpressing a dominantnegative form of FOXO1 or in skeletal-muscle- specific Foxo1-knockout mice relative to respective wild-type controls. Using C2C12 mouse myoblasts overexpressing a constitutively active form of FOXO1, we showed that FOXO1 induces Ctsl expression. Moreover, we found FOXO1-binding sites in both the mouse Ctsl and human CTSL1 promoters. The luciferase reporter analysis revealed that the mouse Ctsl and human CTSL1 promoters are activated by FOXO1, which is abolished by mutations in the consensus FOXO1-binding sites. Gel mobility-shift and chromatin immunoprecipiation assays showed that FOXO1 is recruited and binds to the Ctsl promoter. The present study provides in vivo and in vitro evidence that Ctsl is a direct target of FOXO1 in the skeletal muscle, thereby suggesting a role for the FOXO1/cathepsin L pathway in fasting-induced skeletal muscle metabolic change and atrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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