Pflügers Archiv

, 452:125 | Cite as

Interaction between signalling pathways involved in skeletal muscle responses to endurance exercise

  • Nathalie Koulmann
  • André-Xavier BigardEmail author
Invited Review


The purpose of this review is to summarise the latest literature on the signalling pathways involved in transcriptional modulations of genes that encode contractile and metabolic proteins in response to endurance exercise. A special attention has been paid to the cooperation between signalling pathways and coordinated expression of protein families that establish myofibre phenotype. Calcium acts as a second messenger in skeletal muscle during exercise, conveying neuromuscular activity into changes in the transcription of specific genes. Three main calcium-triggered regulatory pathways acting through calcineurin, Ca2+–calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMK) and Ca2+-dependent protein kinase C, transduce alterations in cytosolic calcium concentration to target genes. Calcineurin signalling, the most important of these Ca2+-dependent pathways, stimulates the activation of many slow-fibre gene expression, including genes encoding proteins involved in contractile process, Ca2+ uptake and energy metabolism. It involves the interaction between multiple transcription factors and the collaboration of other Ca2+-dependent CaMKs. Although members of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are activated during exercise, their integration into other signalling pathways remains largely unknown. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) constitutes a pivotal factor of the circuitry which coordinates mitochondrial biogenesis and which couples to the expression of contractile and metabolic genes with prolonged exercise.


Myosin heavy chain Fibre type switching NFAT MEF2 MAPK HIF-1 Mitochondrial biogenesis Hypoxia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département des Facteurs HumainsCentre de Recherches du Service de Santé des ArméesLa Tronche cedexFrance

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