Despite early demonstrations of myosin binding protein C’s (MyBP-C) interaction with actin, different investigators have reached different conclusions regarding the relevant and necessary domains mediating this binding. Establishing the detailed structure-function relationships is needed to fully understand cMyBP-C’s ability to impact on myofilament contraction as mutations in different domains are causative for familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We defined cMyBP-C’s N-terminal structural domains that are necessary or sufficient to mediate interactions with actin and/or the head region of the myosin heavy chain (S2-MyHC). Using a combination of genetics and functional assays, we defined the actin binding site(s) present in cMyBP-C. We confirmed that cMyBP-C’s C1 and m domains productively interact with actin, while S2-MyHC interactions are restricted to the m domain. Using residue-specific mutagenesis, we identified the critical actin binding residues and distinguished them from the residues that were critical for S2-MyHC binding. To validate the structural and functional significance of these residues, we silenced the endogenous cMyBP-C in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRC) using cMyBP-C siRNA, and replaced the endogenous cMyBP-C with normal or actin binding-ablated cMyBP-C. Replacement with actin binding-ablated cMyBP-C showed that the mutated protein did not incorporate into the sarcomere normally. Residues responsible for actin and S2-MyHC binding are partially present in overlapping domains but are unique. Expression of an actin binding-deficient cMyBP-C resulted in abnormal cytosolic distribution of the protein, indicating that interaction with actin is essential for formation and/or maintenance of normal cMyBP-C sarcomeric distribution.
Myosin binding protein C; Contraction; Muscle; Sarcomere
The Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin-Binding Phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50) is a PDZ-containing scaffolding protein that regulates a variety of physiological functions. In the vasculature, EBP50 promotes neointima formation following arterial injury. In this study the role of EBP50 on vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration was characterized. The spreading and motility of primary VSMC isolated from EBP50 knockout (KO) mice were significantly reduced compared to wild type (WT) cells. EBP50-null VSMC had fewer and larger focal adhesions than wild type cells. Assembly and disassembly of focal adhesion - assessed by live-cell total internal reflection fluorescence imaging - in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) were significantly reduced in KO cells. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that EBP50 interacts with EGF receptor via the PDZ2 domain and with focal adhesion kinase (FAK) via the C-terminal ERM domain. EBP50 promoted the formation of a complex containing both EGF receptor and FAK. Phosphorylation of Tyr-925 of FAK in response to EGF was significantly reduced in KO cell compared to WT cells. The residence time of FAK in focal adhesions - determined by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching - was increased in WT cells. Collectively, these studies indicate that EBP50, by scaffolding EGF receptor and FAK, facilitates activation of FAK, focal adhesion turnover, and migration of VSMC.
EBP50; NHERF; FAK; EGF; vascular smooth muscle cell; migration; focal adhesion
Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3R) -mediated Ca2+ signaling is a major pathway regulating multiple cellular functions in excitable and non-excitable cells. Although InsP3-mediated Ca2+ signaling has been extensively described, its influence on ventricular myocardium activity has not been addressed in contracting hearts at the whole-organ level. In this work, InsP3-sensitive intracellular Ca2+ signals were studied in intact hearts using laser scanning confocal microscopy and pulsed local field fluorescence microscopy. Intracellular [InsP3] was rapidly increased by UV flash photolysis of membrane-permeant caged InsP3. Our results indicate that the basal [Ca2+] increased after the flash photolysis of caged InsP3 without affecting the action potential (AP)-induced Ca2+ transients. The amplitude of the basal [Ca2+] elevation depended on the intracellular [InsP3] reached after the UV flash. Pretreatment with ryanodine failed to abolish the InsP3-induced Ca2+ release (IICR), indicating that this response was not mediated by ryanodine receptors (RyR). Thapsigargin prevented Ca2+ release from both RyR- and InsP3R-containing Ca2+ stores, suggesting that these pools have similar Ca2+ reuptake mechanisms. These results were reproduced in acutely isolated cells where photorelease of InsP3 was able to induce changes in endothelial cells but not in AP-induced transients from cardiomyocytes. Taken together, these results suggest that IICR does not directly regulate cardiac excitation-contraction coupling. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of IICR in intact hearts. Consequently, our work provides a reference framework of the spatiotemporal attributes of the IICR under physiological conditions.
Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate; Caged InsP3; Photolysis; Calcium; InsP3R; RyR
Rapamycin (Sirolimus®) is used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs and coronary restenosis. We reported that rapamycin induced cardioprotection against ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury through opening of mitochondrial KATP channels. However, signaling mechanisms in rapamycin-induced cardioprotection are currently unknown. Considering that STAT3 is protective in the heart, we investigated the potential role of this transcription factor in rapamycin-induced protection against (I/R) injury. Adult male ICR mice were treated with rapamycin (0.25 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle (DMSO) with/without inhibitor of JAK2 (AG-490) or STAT3 (stattic). One hour later, the hearts were subjected to I/R either in Langendorf mode or in situ ligation of left coronary artery. Additionally, primary murine cardiomyocytes were subjected to simulated ischemia/reoxygenation (SI-RO) injury in vitro. For in situ targeted knockdown of STAT3, lentiviral vector containing short hairpin RNA was injected into left ventricle 3 weeks prior to initiating I/R injury. Infarct size, cardiac function, cardiomyocyte necrosis and apoptosis were assessed. Rapamycin reduced infarct size, improved cardiac function following I/R, limited cardiomyocytes necrosis as well as apoptosis following SI-RO which were blocked by AG-490 and stattic. In situ knock-down of STAT3 attenuated rapamycin-induced protection against I/R injury. Rapamycin triggered unique cardioprotecive signaling including phosphorylation of ERK, STAT3, eNOS and glycogen synthase kinase-3β in concert with increased prosurvival Bcl-2 to Bax ratio. Our data suggest that JAK2-STAT3 signaling plays an essential role in rapamycin-induced cardioprotection. We propose that rapamycin is a novel and clinically relevant pharmacological strategy to target STAT3 activation for treatment of myocardial infarction.
White mature adipocytes give rise to multipotent cells, so-called de-differentiated fat (DFAT) cells, when losing their fat in culture. The objective of this study was to examine the ability of DFAT cells to give rise to endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro and vivo. We demonstrate that mouse and human DFAT cells, derived from adipose tissue and lipospirate, respectively, initially lack expression of CD34, CD31, CD146, CD45 and pericyte markers, distinguishing them from progenitor cells previously identified in adipose stroma. The DFAT cells spontaneously differentiate into vascular ECs in vitro, as determined by real-time PCR, fluorescence activated cell sorting, immunostaining, and formation of tube structures. Treatment with bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)4 and BMP9, important in regulating angiogenesis, significantly enhance the EC differentiation. Furthermore, adipocyte-derived cells from Green Fluorescent Protein-transgenic mice were detected in the vasculature of infarcted myocardium up to 6 weeks after ligation of the left anterior descending artery in mice. We conclude that adipocyte-derived multipotent cells are able to spontaneously give rise to ECs, a process that is promoted by BMPs and may be important in cardiovascular regeneration and in physiological and pathological changes in fat and other tissues.
Adipocyte-derived cells multipotent cells; endothelial cell differentiation; bone morphogenetic proteins; transgenic mice
Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) consists of multiple protein isoforms (low [LMW] and high molecular weight [HMW]), which are localized to different cellular compartments, indicating unique biological activity. We previously showed that the LMW isoform is important in protecting the heart from myocardial dysfunction associated with ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, but the roles of the HMW isoforms remain unknown. To elucidate the role of HMW isoforms in I/R and cardioprotection, hearts from novel mouse models,in which the murine FGF2 HMWs are knocked out (HMWKO) or the human FGF2 24 kDa HMW isoform is overexpressed (HMW Tg) and their wildtype (Wt) or non-transgenic (NTg) cohorts were subjected to an ex vivo work-performing heart model of I/R. There was a significant improvement in post-ischemic recovery of cardiac function in HMWKO hearts (76±5%, p<0.05) compared to Wt hearts (55±5%), with a corresponding decrease in HMW Tg function (line 20: 38±6% and line 28: 33±4%, p<0.05) compared to non-transgenic hearts (68±9%). FGF2 LMW isoform was secreted from Wt and HMWKO hearts during I/R, and a FGF receptor (FGFR) inhibitor, PD173074 caused a decrease in cardiac function when administered in I/R in Wt and FGF2 HMWKO hearts (p<0.05), indicating that FGFR is involved in FGF2 LMW isoform's biological effect in ischemia-reperfusion injury. Moreover, overexpression of HMW isoform reduced FGFR1 phosphorylation/activation with no further decrease in the phosphorylation state in the presence of the FGFR inhibitor. Overall, our data indicate that HMW isoforms have a detrimental role in the development of post-ischemic myocardial dysfunction.
fibroblast growth factor; human or mouse FGF; ischemia-reperfusion injury; cardioprotection; low or high molecular weight isoforms; fibroblast growth factor receptor
Numerous studies demonstrated increased expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and activation of focal adhesion (FA) signaling pathways in models of pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy. However, little is known about FA signaling in response to volume overload where cardiac hypertrophy is associated with ECM loss. This study examines the role of beta1-adrenergic receptors (β1-ARs) in FA signaling changes and myocyte apoptosis induced during acute hemodynamic stress of volume overload. Rats with eccentric cardiac hypertrophy induced after aorto-caval fistula (ACF) develop reduced interstitial collagen content and decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of key FA signaling molecules FAK, Pyk2 and paxillin along with an increase in cardiac myocyte apoptosis. ACF also increased activation of PTEN, a dual lipid and protein phosphatase, and its interaction with FA proteins. β1-AR blockade (extended-release of metoprolol succinate, 100 mg QD) markedly attenuated PTEN activation, restored FA signaling and reduced myocyte apoptosis induced by ACF at 2 days, but failed to reduce interstitial collagen loss and left ventricular dilatation. Treating cultured myocytes with β1-AR agonists or adenoviral expression of β1-ARs caused PTEN activation and interaction with FA proteins, thus leading to FA signaling downregulation and myocyte apoptosis. Adenoviral-mediated expression of a catalytically inactive PTEN mutant or wild-type FAK restored FA signaling downregulation and attenuated myocyte apoptosis induced by β1-ARs. Collectively, these data show that β1-AR stimulation in response to ACF induces FA signaling downregulation through an ECM-independent mechanism. This effect involves PTEN activation and may contribute to adverse cardiac remodeling and function in the course of volume overload.
Volume overload; beta-Adrenergic Receptors; Focal Adhesion; PTEN; Myocyte Apoptosis
A pathological increase in the late component of the cardiac Na+ current, INaL, has been linked to disease manifestation in inherited and acquired cardiac diseases including the long QT variant 3 (LQT3) syndrome and heart failure. Disruption in INaL leads to action potential prolongation, disruption of normal cellular repolarization, development of arrhythmia triggers, and propensity to ventricular arrhythmia. Attempts to treat arrhythmogenic sequelae from inherited and acquired syndromes pharmacologically with common Na+ channel blockers (e.g. flecainide, lidocaine, and amiodarone) have been largely unsuccessful. This is due to drug toxicity and the failure of most current drugs to discriminate between the peak current component, chiefly responsible for single cell excitability and propagation in coupled tissue, and the late component (INaL) of the Na+ current. Although small in magnitude as compared to the peak Na+ current (~1 – 3%), INaL alters action potential properties and increases Na+ loading in cardiac cells. With the increasing recognition that multiple cardiac pathological conditions share phenotypic manifestations of INaL upregulation, there has been renewed interest in specific pharmacological inhibition of INa. The novel antianginal agent ranolazine, which shows a marked selectivity for late versus peak Na+ current, may represent a novel drug archetype for targeted reduction of INaL. This article aims to review common pathophysiological mechanisms leading to enhanced INaL in LQT3 and heart failure as prototypical disease conditions. Also reviewed are promising therapeutic strategies tailored to alter the molecular mechanisms underlying INa mediated arrhythmia triggers.
Common cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and myocardial infarction require that myocytes develop greater than normal force to maintain cardiac pump function. This requires increases in [Ca2+]. These diseases induce cardiac hypertrophy and increases in [Ca2+] are known to be an essential proximal signal for activation of hypertrophic genes. However, the source of “hypertrophic” [Ca2+] is not known and is the topic of this study. The role of Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCC), T-type Ca2+ channels (TTCC) and transient receptor potential (TRP) channels on the activation of Calcineurin (Cn) – Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFAT) signaling and myocyte hypertrophy was studied. Neonatal rat (NRVMs) and adult feline (AFVM) ventricular myocytes were infected with an adenovirus containing NFAT-GFP, to determine factors that could induce NFAT nuclear translocation. Four millimolar Ca2+ or pacing induced NFAT nuclear translocation. This effect was blocked by Cn inhibitors. In NRVMs Nifedipine (Nif, LTCC antagonist) blocked high Ca2+-induced NFAT nuclear translocation while SKF-96365 (TRP channel antagonist) and Nickel (Ni, TTCC antagonist) were less effective. The relative potency of these antagonists against Ca2+ induced NFAT nuclear translocation (Nif>SKF-96365>Ni) was similar to their effects on Ca2+ transients and the LTCC current. Infection of NRVM with viruses containing TRP channels also activated NFAT-GFP nuclear translocation and caused myocyte hypertrophy. TRP effects were reduced by SKF-96365, but were more effectively antagonized by Nif. These experiments suggest that Ca2+ influx through LTCCs is the primary source of Ca2+ to activate Cn-NFAT signaling in NRVMs and AFVMs. While TRP channels cause hypertrophy, they appear to do so through a mechanism involving Ca2+ entry via LTCCs.
L-type calcium channel; Hypertrophy; Nuclear factor of activated T cells; Ventricular myocyte; Transient receptor potential channel
Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) induces myofibroblast activation of quiescent aortic valve interstitial cells (AVICs), a differentiation process implicated in calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD). The ubiquity of TGF-β1 signaling makes it difficult to target in a tissue specific manner; however, the serotonin 2B receptor (5-HT2B) is highly localized to cardiopulmonary tissues and agonism of this receptor displays pro-fibrotic effects in a TGF-β1-dependent manner. Therefore, we hypothesized that antagonism of 5-HT2B opposes TGF-β1-induced pathologic differentiation of AVICs and may offer a druggable target to prevent CAVD. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the interaction of 5-HT2B antagonism with canonical and non-canonical TGF-β1 pathways to inhibit TGF-β1-induced activation of isolated porcine AVICs in vitro. Here we show that AVIC activation and subsequent calcific nodule formation is completely mitigated by 5-HT2B antagonism. Interestingly, 5-HT2B antagonism does not inhibit canonical TGF-β1 signaling as identified by Smad3 phosphorylation and activation of a partial plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoter (PAI-1, a transcriptional target of Smad3), but prevents non-canonical p38 MAPK phosphorylation. It was initially suspected that 5-HT2B antagonism prevents Src tyrosine kinase phosphorylation; however, we found that this is not the case and time-lapse microscopy indicates that 5-HT2B antagonism prevents non-canonical TGF-β1 signaling by physically arresting Src tyrosine kinase. This study demonstrates the necessity of non-canonical TGF-β1 signaling in leading to pathologic AVIC differentiation. Moreover, we believe that the results of this study suggest 5-HT2B antagonism as a novel therapeutic approach for CAVD that merits further investigation.
heart valves; calcification; TGF-β1; serotonin receptors
Phosphorylation of cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) is a regulator of pump function in healthy hearts. However, the mechanisms of regulation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)-mediated cMyBP-C phosphorylation have not been completely dissociated from other myofilament substrates for PKA, especially cardiac troponin I (cTnI). We have used synchrotron X-ray diffraction in skinned trabeculae to elucidate the roles of cMyBP-C and cTnI phosphorylation in myocardial inotropy and lusitropy. Myocardium in this study was isolated from four transgenic mouse lines in which the phosphorylation state of either cMyBP-C or cTnI was constitutively altered by site-specific mutagenesis. Analysis of peak intensities in X-ray diffraction patterns from trabeculae showed that cross-bridges are displaced similarly from the thick filament and toward actin (1) when both cMyBP-C and cTnI are phosphorylated, (2) when only cMyBP-C is phosphorylated, and (3) when cMyBP-C phosphorylation is mimicked by replacement with negative charge in its PKA sites. These findings suggest that phosphorylation of cMyBP-C relieves a constraint on cross-bridges, thereby increasing the proximity of myosin to binding sites on actin. Measurements of Ca2+-activated force in myocardium defined distinct molecular effects due to phosphorylation of cMyBP-C or co-phosphorylation with cTnI. Echocardiography revealed that mimicking the charge of cMyBP-C phosphorylation protects hearts from hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction that develops with constitutive dephosphorylation or genetic ablation, underscoring the importance of cMyBP-C phosphorylation for proper pump function.
myosin binding protein C; troponin I; Ca2+-sensitivity; cross-bridge cycling kinetics; protein kinase A; phosphorylation; low-angle x-ray diffraction; myocardium; trabeculae; myofilament structure
Collagen XIV is a fibril-associated collagen with an interrupted triple helix (FACIT). Previous studies have shown that this collagen type regulates early stages of fibrillogenesis in connective tissues of high mechanical demand. Mice null for Collagen XIV are viable, however formation of the interstitial collagen network is defective in tendons and skin leading to reduced biomechanical function. The assembly of a tightly regulated collagen network is also required in the heart, not only for structural support but also for controlling cellular processes. Collagen XIV is highly expressed in the embryonic heart, notably within the cardiac interstitium of the developing myocardium, however its role has not been elucidated. To test this, we examined cardiac phenotypes in embryonic and adult mice devoid of Collagen XIV. From as early as E11.5, Col14a1−/− mice exhibit significant perturbations in mRNA levels of many other collagen types and remodeling enzymes (MMPs, TIMPs) within the ventricular myocardium. By post natal stages, collagen fibril organization is in disarray and the adult heart displays defects in ventricular morphogenesis. In addition to the extracellular matrix, Col14a1−/− mice exhibit increased cardiomyocyte proliferation at post natal, but not E11.5 stages, leading to increased cell number, yet cell size is decreased by 3 months of age. In contrast to myocytes, the number of cardiac fibroblasts is reduced after birth associated with increased apoptosis. As a result of these molecular and cellular changes during embryonic development and post natal maturation, cardiac function is diminished in Col14a1−/− mice from 3 months of age; associated with dilation in the absence of hypertrophy, and reduced ejection fraction. Further, Col14a1 deficiency leads to a greater increase in left ventricular wall thickening in response to pathological pressure overload compared to wild type animals. Collectively, these studies identify a new role for type XIV collagen in the formation of the cardiac interstitium during embryonic development, and highlight the importance of the collagen network for myocardial cell survival, and function of the working myocardium after birth.
Collagen XIV; Myocardium; Extracellular Matrix; Cardiomyocytes; Cardiac fibroblasts
Freshly isolated adult rabbit sinoatrial node cells (f-SANC) are an excellent model for studies of autonomic signaling, but are not amenable to genetic manipulation. We have developed and characterized a stable cultured rabbit SANC (c-SANC) model that is suitable for genetic manipulation to probe mechanisms of spontaneous action potential (AP) firing.
After 48 hours in culture, c-SANC generate stable, rhythmic APs at 34±.5°C, at a rate that is 50% less than f-SANC. In c- vs. f-SANC: AP duration is prolonged; phosphorylation of phospholamban at Ser16 and type2 ryanodine receptor (RyR2) at Ser2809 are reduced; and the level of type2 regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS2), that facilitates adenylyl cyclases/cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) via Gi inhibition, is substantially reduced. Consistent with the interpretation that cAMP/PKA signaling becomes impaired in c-SANC, acute β-adrenergic receptor stimulation increases phospholamban and RyR2 phosphorylation, enhances RGS2-labeling density, and accelerates the AP firing rate to the similar maximum in c- and f-SANC. Specific PKA inhibition completely inhibits all β-adrenergic receptor effects. Adv-RGS2 infection, or pertussis toxin treatment to disable Gi-signaling, each partially rescues the c-SANC spontaneous AP firing rate.
Thus, a Gi-dependent reduction in PKA-dependent protein phosphorylation, including that of Ca2+ cycling proteins, reduces the spontaneous AP firing rate of c-SANC, and can be reversed by genetic or pharmacologic manipulation of PKA signaling.
cultured adult rabbit sinoatrial node cells; Action Potential firing rate; PKA-dependent protein phosphorylation; type2 regulator of G-protein signaling
During development and differentiation, cell type-specific chromatin configurations are set up to facilitate cell type-specific gene expression. Defects in the establishment or the maintenance of the correct chromatin configuration have been associated with diseases ranging from leukemia to muscular dystrophy. The heart expresses many chromatin factors, and we are only beginning to understand their roles in heart development and function. We have previously shown that the chromatin regulator Asxl2 is highly expressed in the murine heart both during development and adulthood. In the absence of Asxl2, there is a significant reduction in trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27), a histone mark associated with lineage-specific silencing of developmental genes. Here we present evidence that Asxl2 is required for the long-term maintenance of ventricular function and for the maintenance of normal cardiac gene expression. Asxl2−/− hearts displayed progressive deterioration of ventricular function. By 10 months of age, there was ~37% reduction in fractional shortening in Asxl2−/− hearts compared to wild-type. Analysis of the expression of myofibril proteins suggests that Asxl2 is required for the repression of βMHC. Asxl2−/− hearts did not exhibit hypertrophy, suggesting that the de-repression of β-MHC was not the result of hypertrophic response. Instead, Asxl2 and the histone methyltansferase Ezh2 co-localize to β-MHC promoter, suggesting that Asxl2 directly represses β-MHC. Interrogation of the CardioGenomics database revealed that ASXL2 is down-regulated in the hearts of patients with ischemic or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. We propose that chromatin factors like Asxl2 function in the adult heart to regulate cell type- and stage-specific patterns of gene expression, and the disruption of such regulation may be involved in the etiology and/or development of certain forms of human heart disease.
Chromatin factor; ventricular dysfunction; β-MHC de-repression; histone methylation; human heart disease etiology
Following myocardial infarction (MI), activated macrophages infiltrate into the necrotic myocardium as part of a robust pro-inflammatory response and secrete matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). Macrophage activation, in turn, modulates the fibrotic response, in part by stimulating fibroblast extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. We hypothesized that overexpression of human MMP-9 in mouse macrophages would amplify the inflammatory and fibrotic responses to exacerbate left ventricular dysfunction. Unexpectedly, at day 5 post-MI, ejection fraction was improved in transgenic (TG) mice (25±2%) compared to the wild type (WT) mice (18±2%; p<0.05). By gene expression profiling, 23 of 84 inflammatory genes were decreased in the left ventricle infarct (LVI) region from the TG compared to WT mice (all p<0.05). Concomitantly, TG macrophages isolated from the LVI, as well as TG peritoneal macrophages stimulated with LPS, showed decreased inflammatory marker expression compared to WT macrophages. In agreement with attenuated inflammation, only 7 of 84 cell adhesion and ECM genes were increased in the TG LVI compared to WT LVI, while 43 genes were decreased (all p<0.05). These results reveal a novel role for macrophage-derived MMP-9 in blunting the inflammatory response and limiting ECM synthesis to improve left ventricular function post-MI.
myocardial infarction; matrix metalloproteinase-9; extracellular matrix; inflammation; cardiac remodeling; mice; macrophage
Mutations in the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) result in long QT syndrome type 2 (LQT2). The hERG gene encodes a K+ channel that contributes to the repolarization of the cardiac action potential. We have previously shown that hERG mRNA transcripts that contain premature termination codon mutations are rapidly degraded by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). In this study, we identified a LQT2 nonsense mutation, Q81X, which escapes degradation by the reinitiation of translation and generates N-terminally truncated channels. RNA analysis of hERG minigenes revealed equivalent levels of wild-type and Q81X mRNA while the mRNA expressed from minigenes containing the LQT2 frameshift mutation, P141fs+2X, was significantly reduced by NMD. Western blot analysis revealed that Q81X minigenes expressed truncated channels. Q81X channels exhibited decreased tail current levels and increased deactivation kinetics compared to wild-type channels. These results are consistent with the disruption of the N-terminus, which is known to regulate hERG deactivation. Site-specific mutagenesis studies showed that translation of the Q81X transcript is reinitiated at Met124 following premature termination. Q81X co-assembled with hERG to form heteromeric channels that exhibited increased deactivation rates compared to wild-type channels. Mutant channels also generated less outward current and transferred less charge at late phases of repolarization during ventricular action potential clamp. These results provide new mechanistic insight into the prolongation of the QT interval in LQT2 patients. Our findings indicate that the reinitiation of translation may be an important pathogenic mechanism in patients with nonsense and frameshift LQT2 mutations near the 5′ end of the hERG gene.
cardiac arrhythmias; ion channels; long QT syndrome; patch clamp
The importance of [Ca2+] in the mitochondrial matrix, [Ca2+]mito, had been proposed by early work of Carafoli and others ,  and . The key suggestion in the 1970s  was that regulatory [Ca2+]mito played a role in controlling the rate of activation of tricarboxylic acid cycle dehydrogenases, important in the regulation of ATP production by the electron transport chain (ETC) during oxidative phosphorylation. This view is now established  and  and the key questions currently debated are to what extent do the mitochondria acquire and release Ca2+, and what impact do mitochondria have on the dynamic Ca2+ signal in the cardiac ventricular myocyte . Although investigations of Ca2+ dynamics in mitochondria have been problematic, disparate and inconclusive, they have also been both provocative and exciting. A recent special issue of this journal presented contrasting perspectives on the speed, extent and mechanisms of changes in [Ca2+]mito, and how these changes may influence cellular spatio-temporal [Ca2+]i dynamics . An audio discussion is also available online . The uncertain nature of the signaling pathways is noted in Table 1 (see below) which shows mitochondrial proteins and processes that are of current focus and which remain contentious. Each of the “items” listed is largely unsettled, or is a “work in progress”. There may be advocates for opposing positions noted or recent discoveries that must still be tested at multiple levels by diverse laboratories. Currently, the first item, the mitochondrial sodium/calcium exchanger (NCLX) , appears the most solid with respect to the molecular identification and physiological function, whereas, the recently described candidates of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU)  and  still need to be verified and broadly examined by the scientific community.
Recent work has provided compelling evidence that increased levels of acetylcholine (ACh) can be protective in heart failure, whereas reduced levels of ACh secretion can cause heart malfunction. Previous data show that cardiomyocytes themselves can actively secrete ACh, raising the question of whether this cardiomyocyte derived ACh may contribute to the protective effects of ACh in the heart. To address the functionality of this non-neuronal ACh machinery, we used cholinesterase inhibitors and a siRNA targeted to AChE (acetylcholinesterase) as a way to increase the availability of ACh secreted by cardiac cells. By using nitric oxide (NO) formation as a biological sensor for released ACh, we showed that cholinesterase inhibition increased NO levels in freshly isolated ventricular myocytes and that this effect was prevented by atropine, a muscarinic receptor antagonist, and by inhibition of ACh synthesis or vesicular storage. Functionally, cholinesterase inhibition prevented the hypertrophic effect as well as molecular changes and calcium transient alterations induced by adrenergic overstimulation in cardiomyocytes. Moreover, inhibition of ACh storage or atropine blunted the anti-hypertrophic action of cholinesterase inhibition. Altogether, our results show that cardiomyocytes possess functional cholinergic machinery that offsets deleterious effects of hyperadrenergic stimulation. In addition, we show that adrenergic stimulation upregulates expression levels of cholinergic components. We propose that this cardiomyocyte cholinergic signaling could amplify the protective effects of the parasympathetic nervous system in the heart and may counter-act or partially neutralize hypertrophic adrenergic effects.
acetylcholine; cardiomyocyte; hypertrophy; VAChT; cholinergic machinery
In contrast with pathological hypertrophy, exercise-induced physiological hypertrophy is not associated with electrical abnormalities or increased arrhythmia risk. Recent studies have shown that increased cardiac-specific expression of phosphoinositide-3-kinase-α (PI3Kα), the key mediator of physiological hypertrophy, results in transcriptional upregulation of ion channel subunits in parallel with the increase in myocyte size (cellular hypertrophy) and the maintenance of myocardial excitability. The experiments here were undertaken to test the hypothesis that Akt1, which underlies PI3Kα-induced cellular hypertrophy, mediates the effects of augmented PI3Kα signaling on the transcriptional regulation of cardiac ion channels. In contrast to wild-type animals, chronic exercise (swim) training of mice (Akt1−/−) lacking Akt1 did not result in ventricular myocyte hypertrophy. Ventricular K+ current amplitudes and the expression of K+ channel subunits, however, were increased markedly in Akt1−/− animals with exercise training. Expression of the transcripts encoding inward (Na+ and Ca2+) channel subunits were also increased in Akt1−/− ventricles following swim training. Additional experiments in a transgenic mouse model of inducible cardiac-specific expression of constitutively active PI3Kα (icaPI3Kα) revealed that short-term activation of PI3Kα signaling in the myocardium also led to the transcriptional upregulation of ion channel subunits. Inhibition of cardiac Akt activation with triciribine in this (inducible caPI3Kα expression) model did not prevent the upregulation of myocardial ion channel subunits. These combined observations demonstrate that chronic exercise training and enhanced PI3Kα expression/activity result in transcriptional upregulation of myocardial ion channel subunits independent of cellular hypertrophy and Akt signaling.
PI3Kα signaling; electrical remodeling; ion channel; Akt
In the abdominal aortocaval (AV) fistula model of heart failure, we have shown that the acute doubling of cardiac mature mast cell (MC) density involved the maturation, but not proliferation, of a resident population of immature cardiac MCs. An increase in stem cell factor (SCF) may be responsible for this MC maturation process. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if: 1) myocardial SCF levels are increased following the initiation of cardiac volume overload; 2) the incubation of left ventricular (LV) tissue slices with SCF results in an increase in mature MC density; and 3) chemical degranulation of mature cardiac MCs in LV tissue slices results in an increase in SCF and mature MC density via MC chymase. Male rats with either sham or AV fistula surgery were studied at 6 hrs and 1 and 3 days post-surgery. LV slices from normal male rat hearts were incubated for 16 hrs with media alone or media containing one of the following: 1) recombinant rat SCF (20 ng/ml) to determine the effects of SCF on MC maturation; 2) the MC secretagogue compound 48/80 (20 μg/ml) to determine the effects of MC degranulation on SCF levels and mature MC density; 3) media containing compound 48/80 and anti-SCF (5μg/ml) to block the effects of SCF; 4) chymase (100 nM) to determine the effects of chymase on SCF; and 5) compound 48/80 and chymostatin (chymase inhibitor, 10 μM) to block the effects of MC chymase. In AV fistula animals, myocardial SCF was significantly elevated above that in the sham group at 6 hrs and 1 day post fistula by 2 and 1.8 fold, respectively, and then returned to normal by 3 days; this increase slightly preceded significant increases in MC density. Incubation of LV slices with SCF resulted in a doubling of mature MC density and this was concomitant with a significant decrease in the number of immature mast cells. Incubation of LV slices with compound 48/80 increased media SCF levels and mature MC density, anti-SCF and chymostatin prevented these compound 48/80-induced increases. Incubation with chymase increased media SCF levels and mature MC density. These findings indicate that activated mature cardiac mast cells are responsible, in a paracrine fashion, for the increase in mature MC density post AV fistula by rapidly increasing SCF levels via the release of chymase.
Stem cell factor; Mast cell maturation; Left ventricular tissue slice culture; Abdominal aortocaval fistula; Compound 48/80; Chymase
cardiac troponin T; myosin heavy chain; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; mutations; transgenic mice
Despite the extensive knowledge of the functional unit of chromatin—the nucleosome—for which structural information exists at the atomic level, little is known about the endogenous structure of eukaryotic genomes. Chromosomal capture techniques and genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and next generation sequencing have provided complementary insight into global features of chromatin structure, but these methods do not directly measure structural features of the genome in situ. This lack of insight is particularly troublesome in terminally differentiated cells which must reorganize their genomes for large scale gene expression changes in the absence of cell division. For example, cardiomyocytes, which are fully committed and reside in interphase, are capable of massive gene expression changes in response to physiological stimuli, but the global changes in chromatin structure that enable such transcriptional changes are unknown. The present study addressed this problem utilizing super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy to directly measure chromatin features in mammalian cells. We demonstrate that immunolabeling of histone H3 coupled with STED imaging reveals chromatin domains on a scale of 40–70 nm, several folds better than the resolution of conventional confocal microscopy. An analytical workflow is established to detect changes in chromatin structure following acute stimuli and used to investigate rearrangements in cardiomyocyte genomes following agonists that induce cellular hypertrophy. This approach is readily adaptable to investigation of other nuclear features using a similar antibody-based labeling technique and enables direct measurements of chromatin domain changes in response to physiological stimuli.
Super-resolution microscopy; Chromatin; Cardiac hypertrophy
The balance between endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-derived nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production determines endothelial-mediated vascular homeostasis. Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) has been linked to imbalance of the eNOS/ROS system, which leads to endothelial dysfunction. We previously found that selective inhibition of delta PKC (δPKC) or selective activation of epsilon PKC (εPKC) reduces oxidative damage in the heart following myocardial infarction. In this study we determined the effect of these PKC isozymes in the survival of coronary endothelial cells (CVEC). We demonstrate here that serum deprivation of CVEC increased eNOS-mediated ROS levels, activated caspase-3, reduced Akt phosphorylation and cell number. Treatment with either the δPKC inhibitor, δV1-1, or the εPKC activator, ψεRACK, inhibited these effects, restoring cell survival through inhibition of eNOS activity. The decrease in eNOS activity coincided with specific de-phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser1179, and eNOS phosphorylation at Thr497 and Ser116. Furthermore, δV1-1 or ψεRACK induced physical association of eNOS with caveolin-1, an additional marker of eNOS inhibition, and restored Akt activation by inhibiting its nitration. Together our data demonstrate that 1) in endothelial dysfunction, ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) formation result from uncontrolled eNOS activity mediated by activation of δPKC or inhibition of εPKC 2) inhibition of δPKC or activation of εePKC correct the perturbed phosphorylation state of eNOS, thus increasing cell survival. Since endothelial health ensures better tissue perfusion and oxygenation, treatment with a δPKC inhibitor and/or an εPKC activator in diseases of endothelial dysfunction should be considered.