Myofibers increase size and DNA content in response to a hypertrophic stimulus, thus providing a physiological model with which to study how these factors affect global transcription. Using 5-ethynyl uridine (EU) to metabolically label nascent RNA, we measured a sevenfold increase in myofiber transcription during early hypertrophy before a change in cell size and DNA content. The typical increase in myofiber DNA content observed at the later stage of hypertrophy was associated with a significant decrease in the percentage of EU-positive myonuclei; however, when DNA content was held constant by preventing myonuclear accretion via satellite cell depletion, both the number of transcriptionally active myonuclei and the amount of RNA generated by each myonucleus increased. During late hypertrophy, transcription did not scale with cell size, as smaller myofibers (< 1000 μm2) demonstrated the highest transcriptional activity. Finally, transcription was primarily responsible for changes in the expression of genes known to regulate myofiber size. These findings show that resident myonuclei possess a significant reserve capacity to up-regulate transcription during hypertrophy and that myofiber transcription is responsive to DNA content but uncoupled from cell size during hypertrophy.

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Published in Molecular Biology of the Cell, v. 27, no. 5, p.788-798.

© 2016 Kirby et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s).

Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

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This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant AR060701 to J.J.M. and C.A.P.

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