When more is less: Excess and deficiency of autophagy coexist in skeletal muscle in Pompe disease

Nina Raben, Rebecca Baum, Cynthia Schreiner, Shoichi Takikita, Noboru Mizushima, Evelyn Ralston, Paul Plotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of autophagy, a catabolic lysosome-dependent pathway, has recently been recognized in a variety of disorders, including Pompe disease, which results from a deficiency of the glycogen-degrading lysosomal hydrolase acid-alpha glucosidase (GAA). Skeletal and cardiac muscle are most severely affected by the progressive expansion of glycogen-filled lysosomes. In both humans and an animal model of the disease (GAA KO), skeletal muscle pathology also involves massive accumulation of autophagic vesicles and autophagic buildup in the core of myofibers, suggesting an induction of autophagy. Only when we suppressed autophagy in the skeletal muscle of the GAA KO mice did we realize that the excess of autophagy manifests as a functional deficiency. This failure of productive autophagy is responsible for the accumulation of potentially toxic aggregate-prone ubiquitinated proteins, which likely cause profound muscle damage in Pompe mice. Also, by generating muscle-specific autophagy-deficient wild-type mice, we were able to analyze the role of autophagy in healthy skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-113
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lysosome
  • Muscle-specific autophagy deficiency
  • Pompe disease
  • Protein inclusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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