David M. Thomson, Physiology and Developmental Biology
Evaluation of academic objectives and project findings
The purpose of this mentoring environment grant was to determine the role of LKB1 on the activation of p53 by exercise, muscle development, and pharmacological means. The primary research objectives and findings are listed below:
Aim #1: Determine whether caffeine administration impairs muscle hypertrophy (growth). Rats were given caffeine in their drinking water for 1-2 weeks while muscle hypertrophy was induced in the hindlimb of the rats through a synergist tenotomy procedure.
- Administration of caffeine during robust muscle hypertrophy may impair muscle growth initially, but this effect is lost within two weeks such that muscle mass is the same with or without caffeine.
- Anabolic (growth-inducing) intracellular signaling and protein synthesis was not affected by the administration of caffeine, nor was inflammatory signaling.
- Administration of caffeine did, however, decrease adipose tissue mass substantially over the course of two weeks. The loss of adipose tissue without a corresponding loss of muscle mass or growth supports its use as an ergogenic aid in athletes, contrary to our hypothesis.
Aim #2: Determine whether caffeine administration impairs anabolic signaling after an acute bout of hypertrophy-stimulating contractions. LKB1 knockout and control mice were given an injection of caffeine or saline and then subjected to a 20 minute-long bout of contractions. Intracellular anabolic signaling and protein synthesis were measured 0, 3 and 8 hours after the contraction bout.
- Caffeine did not affect signaling or protein synthesis at any timepoint.
- LKB1-KO attenuated anabolic signaling and protein synthesis. This will be a topic of further study.
Participating students and academic deliverables
The undergraduate students who participated in the work associated with this grant were: Xavier Mortenson, Alex Harris, Karson Kump, David Laird, Aaron Adams and Carlie Grigg. Each of them gained proficiency in several laboratory skills. In addition to the undergraduate students, Timothy Moore’s master’s project research was supported by these funds as well.
Tim, Alex, Karson and Carlie all presented data funded by this MEG at scientific conferences (Integrative Physiology of Exercise, 2014, Denver CO; Southwest American College of Sports Medicine, 2013, Costa Mesa, CA). They all did fantastic work and represented BYU well.
We are anticipating two publications to be made stemming from this data. The first addresses the effect of the caffeine and has already been written by Tim Moore. It is in the process of being edited by myself. I hope to submit it for publication by the end of February. The second will deal with the role of LKB1 in muscle hypertrophy. It may require a couple of other experiments, but will hopefully be published by summertime of this year (2015).
Evaluation of mentoring environment
I currently have 12 undergraduate students working in the laboratory with me. I have found that direct interaction and training from me is crucial in helping them become independent and trustworthy in the laboratory. The lab work slowed considerably over the past summer as we moved to the Life Sciences Building as our cell culture became contaminated, and our animal colony was in quarantine and being tested for pathogens. However, things have begun moving along nicely again. I have been able to dedicate substantial blocks of time to working with the students, and our lab meetings have become more productive and informative for the students. I’m very excited for the progress and trajectory of the lab as a whole now. I’m satisfied with the learning and performance of the students in my lab. The undergraduates continue to produce good data, and represent the university well at professional conferences as colleagues repeatedly mistake them for advanced graduate students. Tim Moore has graduated and is now at The University of Southern California working on his PhD. Alex and Karson were both just notified this past week that they have been accepted to their top choice of dental and medical schools, and both report their lab experience as being key in their acceptance.
Description of how the budget was spent (estimate)
|Other reagents, supplies (ECL, film, chemicals, qPCR mix, gels etc.)||$10000|
|Student Wages (David Laird)||$1000|