The role and regulation of MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF1 in skeletal muscle atrophy

  • Victoria C. Foletta
  • Lloyd J. White
  • Amy E. Larsen
  • Bertrand Léger
  • Aaron P. RussellEmail author
Invited Review


Skeletal muscle atrophy occurs in many chronic diseases and disuse conditions. Its severity reduces patient recovery, independence and quality of life. The discovery of two muscle-specific E3 ubiquitin ligases, MAFbx/atrogin-1 and Muscle RING Finger-1 (MuRF1), promoted an expectation of these molecules as targets for therapeutic development. While numerous studies have determined the conditions in which MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF1 mRNA levels are regulated, few studies have investigated their functional role in skeletal muscle. Recently, studies identifying new target substrates for MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF1, outside of their response to the initiation of muscle atrophy, suggest that there is more to these proteins than previously appreciated. This review will highlight our present knowledge of MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF1 in skeletal muscle atrophy, the impact of potential therapeutics and their known regulators and substrates. Finally, we will comment on new approaches that may expand our knowledge of these two molecules in their control of skeletal muscle function.


Skeletal muscle Regeneration Muscle damage Myosin heavy chain Myogenic response 



We wish to thank Dr. D. Segal in the critical reading of this manuscript. APR is supported by an NH&MRC Biomedical Career Development Award (479536).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria C. Foletta
    • 1
  • Lloyd J. White
    • 1
  • Amy E. Larsen
    • 1
  • Bertrand Léger
    • 1
  • Aaron P. Russell
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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