Myostatin is a negative regulator of muscle growth and metabolism and its inhibition in mice improves insulin sensitivity, increases glucose uptake into skeletal muscle, and decreases total body fat. A recently described mammalian protein called MSS51 is significantly downregulated with myostatin inhibition. In vitro disruption of Mss51 results in increased levels of ATP, β-oxidation, glycolysis, and oxidative phosphorylation. To determine the in vivo biological function of Mss51 in mice, we disrupted the Mss51 gene by CRISPR/Cas9 and found that Mss51-KO mice have normal muscle weights and fiber-type distribution but reduced fat pads. Myofibers isolated from Mss51-KO mice showed an increased oxygen consumption rate compared with WT controls, indicating an accelerated rate of skeletal muscle metabolism. The expression of genes related to oxidative phosphorylation and fatty acid β-oxidation were enhanced in skeletal muscle of Mss51-KO mice compared with that of WT mice. We found that mice lacking Mss51 and challenged with a high-fat diet were resistant to diet-induced weight gain, had increased whole-body glucose turnover and glycolysis rate, and increased systemic insulin sensitivity and fatty acid β-oxidation. These findings demonstrate that MSS51 modulates skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration and regulates whole-body glucose and fatty acid metabolism, making it a potential target for obesity and diabetes.
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