Vitor Lira

You are here

Vitor Lira
Associate Professor
Human Physiology
Muscle biology,exercise physiology, substrate metabolism, proteostasis, gene regulation
End Degree:
PhD in Exercise Physiology
University of Florida
4324 PBDB, N424 FH
Email: Laboratory:
Muscle Biology & Metabolism Laboratory
Lab Website:

Lab:  Muscle Biology & Metabolism  and FOE Diabetes Research Center

Post-doctoral Fellowship 

Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia

Courses Taught

  • HHP:4510 Energy Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • HHP:6510 Advanced Energy Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • HHP:4410 Exercise Physiology
  • HHP:6410 Advanced Exercise Physiology
  • HHP:4130 Skeletal Muscle Physiology
  • HHP:6130 Advanced Skeletal Muscle Physiology
  • HHP:4500 Undergraduate Independent Study
  • HHP:6000 Graduate Research
  • HHP:6400 Integrative Physiology Seminar

Research Interests

Age-related impairments in protein quality control lead to metabolic and contractile dysfunctions in skeletal and cardiac muscles that are associated with a variety of health problems (e.g., sarcopenia, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer). Our overall research goal is to determine the protein quality control mechanisms that become compromised with aging thereby identifying novel targets for therapy. Deciphering the intracellular and cross-tissue pathways responsible for the exercise- and calorie restriction-mediated improvements of quality control processes is also of major interest. We conduct functional studies combining unbiased approaches (e.g., proteomics, metabolomics) with molecular biology and mouse genetics.


Recent Select Publications

Full list of published work in NCBI

Harris MP, Zhang QJ, Cochran CT, Ponce J, Alexander S, Kronemberger A, Fuqua JD, Zhang Y, Fattal R, Harper T, Murry ML, Grueter CE, Abel ED, Lira VA. (2022) Perinatal versus adult loss of ULK1 and ULK2 distinctly influences cardiac autophagy and function. Autophagy. Feb 1;:1-17.

Lamin V, Verry J, Eigner-Bybee I, Fuqua JD, Wong T, Lira VA, Dokun AO. Modulation of miR-29a and ADAM12 Reduces Post-Ischemic Skeletal Muscle Injury and Improves Perfusion Recovery and Skeletal Muscle Function in a Mouse Model of Type 2 Diabetes and Peripheral Artery Disease. (2021) Int J Mol Sci. Dec 31;23(1). doi: 10.3390/ijms23010429.

Sebag SC, Zhang Z, Qian Q, Li M, Zhu Z, Harata M, Li W, Zingman LV, Liu L, Lira VA, Potthoff MJ, Bartelt A, Yang L. (2021) ADH5-mediated NO bioactivity maintains metabolic homeostasis in brown adipose tissue. Cell Rep. Nov 16;37(7):110003.

Morales PE, Monsalves-Álvarez M, Tadinada SM, Harris MP, Ramírez-Sagredo A, Ortiz-Quintero J, Troncoso MF, De Gregorio N, Calle X, Pereira RO, Lira VA, Espinosa A, Abel ED, Lavandero S. (2021) Skeletal muscle type-specific mitochondrial adaptation to high-fat diet relies on differential autophagy modulation. FASEB J. Oct;35(10):e21933.

Bhardwaj G, Penniman CM, Jena J, Suarez Beltran PA, Foster C, Poro K, Junck TL, Hinton AO Jr, Souvenir R, Fuqua JD, Morales PE, Bravo-Sagua R, Sivitz WI, Lira VA, Abel ED, O'Neill BT. (2021) Insulin and IGF-1 receptors regulate complex I-dependent mitochondrial bioenergetics and supercomplexes via FoxOs in muscle. (2021) J Clin Invest. Sep 15;131(18).

Okutsu M, Yamada M, Tokizawa K, Marui S, Suzuki K, Lira VA, Nagashima K. (2021) Regular exercise stimulates endothelium autophagy via IL-1 signaling in ApoE deficient mice. FASEB J. Jul;35(7):e21698.

Klionsky DJ, Abdel-Aziz AK, ….Lira VA et al. (2021) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition). Autophagy Jan:17(1):1-382.

Sousa LGO, Marshall AG, Norman JE, Fuqua JD, Lira VA, Rutledge JC, Bodine SC. (2021) The effects of diet composition and chronic obesity on muscle growth and function. J Appl Physiol (1985). Jan 1;130(1):124-138. 

Zhang Z, Qian Q, Li M, Shao F, Ding WX, Lira VA, Chen SX, Sebag SC, Hotamisligil GS, Cao H, Yang L. (2021) The unfolded protein response regulates hepatic autophagy by sXBP1-mediated activation of TFEB. Autophagy Aug; 17(8):1841-1855. 

Yamada M, Hokazono C, Tokizawa K, Marui S, Iwata M, Lira VA, Suzuki K, Miura S, Nagashima K, Okutsu M. (2019) Muscle-derived SDF-1α/CXCL12 modulates endothelial cell proliferation but not exercise training-induced angiogenesis. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 317(6):R770-779.

Fuqua JD, Mere CP, Kronemberger A, Blomme J, Bae D, Turner KD, Harris MP, Scudese E, Edwards M, Ebert SM, de Sousa LGO, Bodine SC, Yang L, Adams CM, Lira VA. (2019) ULK2 is essential for degradation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates and homeostasis in skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 33(11):11735-11745.

Yamada M, Iwata M, Warabi E, Oishi H, Lira VA, Okutsu M. (2019) p62/SQSTM1 and Nrf2 are essential for exercise-mediated enhancement of antioxidant protein expression in oxidative muscle. FASEB J. 33(7), 8022-8032.

Stauss HM, Stangl H, Clark KC, Kwitek AE, Lira VA. (2018) Cervical vagal nerve stimulation impairs glucose tolerance and suppresses insulin release in conscious rats. Physiol Rep. Dec;6(24):e13953.

Tsushima, K., Bugger, H., Wende, A. R., Soto, J., Jenson, G. A., Tor, A. R., McGlauflin, R., Kenny, H. C., Zhang, Y., Souvenir, R., Hu, X. X., Pereira, R. O., Lira, V. A., Spitzer, K. W., Sharp, T. L., Shoghi, K. I., Sparagna, G. C., Rog-Zielinska, E. A., Kohl, P., Khalimonchuk, O., Schaffer, J. E., Abel, E. D. (2018). Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in lipotoxic hearts induce post-translational modifications of AKAP121, DRP1, and OPA1 that promote mitochondrial fission. Circulation Research 122(1), 58-73.

Laker, R., Drake, J., Wilson, R., Lira, V. A., Lewellen, B. M., Ryall, K. A., Fisher, C. C., Zhang, M., Saucerman, J. J., Goodyear, L. J., Kundu, M., Yan, Z. (2017). Ampk phosphorylation of Ulk1 is required for targeting of mitochondria to lysosomes in exercise-induced mitophagy. Nature Communications, 8(1), 548. 

Boland, L., Burand, T., Brown, A. J., Boyt, D., Lira, V. A., Ankrum, J. A. (2017). IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha pre-licensing protects mesenhymal stromal cells from the pro-inflammatory effects of palmitate. Molecular Therapy 7(26), 860-873. 

Meyers, E. E., Kronemberger, A., Lira, V., Rahmouni, K., Stauss, H. M. (2016). Contrasting effects of afferent and efferent vagal nerve stimulation on insulin secretion and blood glucose regulation. Physiological Reports, 4(4), e12718.

Call JA, Donet J, Martin KS, Sharma AK, Chen X, Zhang J, Cai J, Galarreta CA, Okutsu M, Du Z, Lira V A, Zhang M, Mehrad B, Annex BH, Klibanv AL, Laubach RP, Pierce SM, Yan Z. (2017). Muscle-derived extracellular superoxide dismutase inhibtis endothelial activation and protects against multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in mice. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 113, 212-223. 

Turner J, Lira V, Brum P. (2017). New insights into the benefits of physical activity and exercise for aging and chronic disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017(2503767). 

Yan Z, Kronemberger H M, Blomme J, Call JA, Caster, HM, Pereira RO, Zhao H, Melo VU, Laker RC, Zhang M, Lira VA. (2017). Exercise leads to unfavorable cardiac remodeling and enhanced metabolic homeostasis in obese mice with cardiac and skeletal muscle autophagy deficiency. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 7894. 

Klionsky DJ, Abdelmohsen K, Abe A,..., Lira, VA, et al. (2016) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 12(1):1-222.

Ebert SM, Dyle MC, Bullard SA, Dierdorff JM, Murry DJ, Fox DK, Bongers KS, Lira VA, Meyerholz DK, Talley JJ, Adams CM. (2015) Identification and small molecule inhibition of an activating transcription factor 4 (ATF)-dependent pathway to age-related skeletal muscle weakness and atrophy. J Biol Chem 290(42):25497-511.

Chao H, Li H, Grande R, Lira V, Yan Z, Harris TE, Li C. Involvement of mTOR in type 2 CRF receptor inhibition of insulin signaling in muscle cells. Mol Endocrinol 29(6):831-41.

Cohen TJ, Choi MC, Kapur M, Lira VA, Yan Z, Yao TP. (2015) HDAC4 regulates muscle fiber type-specific gene expression programs. Mol Cells 38(4):343-48.

Lira VA. Exercise-induced cardioprotection: more to k“NO”w. (2015) Cardiology 130(3):172-174.

Call JA, Chain KH, Martin KS, Lira VA, Okutsu M, Zhang M, Yan Z. (2015) Enhanced skeletal muscle expression of EcSOD mitigates streptozotocin-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy by reducing oxidative stress and aberrant cell signaling. Circ Heart Fail 8(1):188-97.

Okutsu M, Call JA, Lira VA, Zhang M, Donet JA, French BA, Martin KS, Peirce-Cottler SM, Rembold CM, Annex BH, Yan Z. (2014) Extracellular superoxide dismutase ameliorates skeletal muscle abnormalities, cachexia, and exercise intolerance in mice with congestive heart failure. Circ Heart Fail 7(3):519-30.

Okutsu M, Lira VA, Higashida K, Peake J, Higuchi M, Suzuki K. (2014) Corticosterone accelerates atherosclerosis in the apolipoprotein E-deficient mouse. Atherosclerosis 232(2):414-9.

Lira VA, Okutsu M, Zhang M, Greene NP, Laker RC, Breen DS, Hoehn KL, Yan Z. (2013) Autophagy is required for exercise training-induced skeletal muscle adaptation and improvement of physical performance. FASEB J 27(10):4184-93.

Yan Z, Lira VA, Greene NP. (2012) Exercise training-induced regulation of mitochondrial quality. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 40(3):159-64.

Yan Z, Okutsu M, Akhtar YN, Lira VA. (2011) Regulation of exercise-induced fiber type transformation, mitochondrial biogenesis, and angiogenesis in skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol 110(1):264-74.

Lira VA, Brown DL, Lira AK, Kavazis AN, Soltow QA, Zeanah EH, Criswell DS. (2010) Nitric oxide and AMPK cooperatively regulate PGC-1 in skeletal muscle cells. J Physiol 588(Pt 18):3551-66.

Lira VA, Benton CR, Yan Z, Bonen A. (2010) PGC-1{alpha} regulation by exercise training and its influences on muscle function and insulin sensitivity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 299(2):E145-61.

Lira VA, Soltow QA, Long JH, Betters JL, Sellman JE, Criswell DS. (2007) Nitric oxide increases GLUT4 expression and regulates AMPK signaling in skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 293(4):E1062-8.

Grant Funding

National Institutes of Health, NIA  1R56AG063820 - 01A1: Lira (PI)                          9/20/20 – 8/31/22
Molecular regulation of protein turnover in skeletal muscle

FOEDRC, UI, Development Grant: Lira (PI)                                                                7/1/19 – 6/30/23
Leveraging the selective degradation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates to improve muscle function