Diseases caused by gene haploinsufficiency in humans commonly lack a phenotype in mice that are heterozygous for the orthologous factor, impeding the study of complex phenotypes and critically limiting the discovery of therapeutics. Laboratory mice have longer telomeres relative to humans, potentially protecting against age-related disease caused by haploinsufficiency. Here, we demonstrate that telomere shortening in NOTCH1-haploinsufficient mice is sufficient to elicit age-dependent cardiovascular disease involving premature calcification of the aortic valve, a phenotype that closely mimics human disease caused by NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency. Furthermore, progressive telomere shortening correlated with severity of disease, causing cardiac valve and septal disease in the neonate that was similar to the range of valve disease observed within human families. Genes that were dysregulated due to NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency in mice with shortened telomeres were concordant with proosteoblast and proinflammatory gene network alterations in human NOTCH1 heterozygous endothelial cells. These dysregulated genes were enriched for telomere-contacting promoters, suggesting a potential mechanism for telomere-dependent regulation of homeostatic gene expression. These findings reveal a critical role for telomere length in a mouse model of age-dependent human disease and provide an in vivo model in which to test therapeutic candidates targeting the progression of aortic valve disease.
Christina V. Theodoris, Foteini Mourkioti, Yu Huang, Sanjeev S. Ranade, Lei Liu, Helen M. Blau, Deepak Srivastava
Ischemic heart disease resulting from myocardial infarction (MI) is the most prevalent form of heart disease in the United States. Post-MI cardiac remodeling is a multifaceted process that includes activation of fibroblasts and a complex immune response. T-regulatory cells (Tregs), a subset of CD4+ T cells, have been shown to suppress the innate and adaptive immune response and limit deleterious remodeling following myocardial injury. However, the mechanisms by which injured myocardium recruits suppressive immune cells remain largely unknown. Here, we have shown a role for Hippo signaling in the epicardium in suppressing the post-infarct inflammatory response through recruitment of Tregs. Mice deficient in epicardial YAP and TAZ, two core Hippo pathway effectors, developed profound post-MI pericardial inflammation and myocardial fibrosis, resulting in cardiomyopathy and death. Mutant mice exhibited fewer suppressive Tregs in the injured myocardium and decreased expression of the gene encoding IFN-γ, a known Treg inducer. Furthermore, controlled local delivery of IFN-γ following MI rescued Treg infiltration into the injured myocardium of YAP/TAZ mutants and decreased fibrosis. Collectively, these results suggest that epicardial Hippo signaling plays a key role in adaptive immune regulation during the post-MI recovery phase.
Vimal Ramjee, Deqiang Li, Lauren J. Manderfield, Feiyan Liu, Kurt A. Engleka, Haig Aghajanian, Christopher B. Rodell, Wen Lu, Vivienne Ho, Tao Wang, Li Li, Anamika Singh, Dasan M. Cibi, Jason A. Burdick, Manvendra K. Singh, Rajan Jain, Jonathan A. Epstein
Failure of trabecular myocytes to undergo appropriate cell cycle withdrawal leads to ventricular noncompaction and heart failure. Signaling of growth factor receptor ERBB2 is critical for myocyte proliferation and trabeculation. However, the mechanisms underlying appropriate downregulation of trabecular ERBB2 signaling are little understood. Here, we have found that the endocytic adaptor proteins NUMB and NUMBL were required for downregulation of ERBB2 signaling in maturing trabeculae. Loss of NUMB and NUMBL resulted in a partial block of late endosome formation, resulting in sustained ERBB2 signaling and STAT5 activation. Unexpectedly, activated STAT5 overrode Hippo-mediated inhibition and drove YAP1 to the nucleus. Consequent aberrant cardiomyocyte proliferation resulted in ventricular noncompaction that was markedly rescued by heterozygous loss of function of either ERBB2 or YAP1. Further investigations revealed that NUMB and NUMBL interacted with small GTPase Rab7 to transition ERBB2 from early to late endosome for degradation. Our studies provide insight into mechanisms by which NUMB and NUMBL promote cardiomyocyte cell cycle withdrawal and highlight previously unsuspected connections between pathways that are important for cardiomyocyte cell cycle reentry, with relevance to ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy and regenerative medicine.
Maretoshi Hirai, Yoh Arita, C. Jane McGlade, Kuo-Fen Lee, Ju Chen, Sylvia M. Evans
Myocardial infarction (MI) results in the generation of dead cells in the infarcted area. These cells are swiftly removed by phagocytes to minimize inflammation and limit expansion of the damaged area. However, the types of cells and molecules responsible for the engulfment of dead cells in the infarcted area remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that cardiac myofibroblasts, which execute tissue fibrosis by producing extracellular matrix proteins, efficiently engulf dead cells. Furthermore, we identified a population of cardiac myofibroblasts that appears in the heart after MI in humans and mice. We found that these cardiac myofibroblasts secrete milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor 8 (MFG-E8), which promotes apoptotic engulfment, and determined that serum response factor is important for MFG-E8 production in myofibroblasts. Following MFG-E8–mediated engulfment of apoptotic cells, myofibroblasts acquired antiinflammatory properties. MFG-E8 deficiency in mice led to the accumulation of unengulfed dead cells after MI, resulting in exacerbated inflammatory responses and a substantial decrease in survival. Moreover, MFG-E8 administration into infarcted hearts restored cardiac function and morphology. MFG-E8–producing myofibroblasts mainly originated from resident cardiac fibroblasts and cells that underwent endothelial-mesenchymal transition in the heart. Together, our results reveal previously unrecognized roles of myofibroblasts in regulating apoptotic engulfment and a fundamental importance of these cells in recovery from MI.
Michio Nakaya, Kenji Watari, Mitsuru Tajima, Takeo Nakaya, Shoichi Matsuda, Hiroki Ohara, Hiroaki Nishihara, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Akiko Hashimoto, Mitsuho Nishida, Akiomi Nagasaka, Yuma Horii, Hiroki Ono, Gentaro Iribe, Ryuji Inoue, Makoto Tsuda, Kazuhide Inoue, Akira Tanaka, Masahiko Kuroda, Shigekazu Nagata, Hitoshi Kurose
Cardiac hypertrophic growth in response to pathological cues is associated with reexpression of fetal genes and decreased cardiac function and is often a precursor to heart failure. In contrast, physiologically induced hypertrophy is adaptive, resulting in improved cardiac function. The processes that selectively induce these hypertrophic states are poorly understood. Here, we have profiled 2 repressive epigenetic marks, H3K9me2 and H3K27me3, which are involved in stable cellular differentiation, specifically in cardiomyocytes from physiologically and pathologically hypertrophied rat hearts, and correlated these marks with their associated transcriptomes. This analysis revealed the pervasive loss of euchromatic H3K9me2 as a conserved feature of pathological hypertrophy that was associated with reexpression of fetal genes. In hypertrophy, H3K9me2 was reduced following a miR-217–mediated decrease in expression of the H3K9 dimethyltransferases EHMT1 and EHMT2 (EHMT1/2). miR-217–mediated, genetic, or pharmacological inactivation of EHMT1/2 was sufficient to promote pathological hypertrophy and fetal gene reexpression, while suppression of this pathway protected against pathological hypertrophy both in vitro and in mice. Thus, we have established a conserved mechanism involving a departure of the cardiomyocyte epigenome from its adult cellular identity to a reprogrammed state that is accompanied by reexpression of fetal genes and pathological hypertrophy. These results suggest that targeting miR-217 and EHMT1/2 to prevent H3K9 methylation loss is a viable therapeutic approach for the treatment of heart disease.
Bernard Thienpont, Jan Magnus Aronsen, Emma Louise Robinson, Hanneke Okkenhaug, Elena Loche, Arianna Ferrini, Patrick Brien, Kanar Alkass, Antonio Tomasso, Asmita Agrawal, Olaf Bergmann, Ivar Sjaastad, Wolf Reik, Hywel Llewelyn Roderick
Homeostatic control of tissue oxygenation is achieved largely through changes in blood flow that are regulated by the classic physiological response of hypoxic vasodilation. The role of nitric oxide (NO) in the control of blood flow is a central tenet of cardiovascular biology. However, extensive evidence now indicates that hypoxic vasodilation entails
Rongli Zhang, Douglas T. Hess, James D. Reynolds, Jonathan S. Stamler
Rapid impulse propagation in the heart is a defining property of pectinated atrial myocardium (PAM) and the ventricular conduction system (VCS) and is essential for maintaining normal cardiac rhythm and optimal cardiac output. Conduction defects in these tissues produce a disproportionate burden of arrhythmic disease and are major predictors of mortality in heart failure patients. Despite the clinical importance, little is known about the gene regulatory network that dictates the fast conduction phenotype. Here, we have used signal transduction and transcriptional profiling screens to identify a genetic pathway that converges on the NRG1-responsive transcription factor ETV1 as a critical regulator of fast conduction physiology for PAM and VCS cardiomyocytes.
Akshay Shekhar, Xianming Lin, Fang-Yu Liu, Jie Zhang, Huan Mo, Lisa Bastarache, Joshua C. Denny, Nancy J. Cox, Mario Delmar, Dan M. Roden, Glenn I. Fishman, David S. Park
The canonical atrial myocyte (AM) is characterized by sparse transverse tubule (TT) invaginations and slow intracellular Ca2+ propagation but exhibits rapid contractile activation that is susceptible to loss of function during hypertrophic remodeling. Here, we have identified a membrane structure and Ca2+-signaling complex that may enhance the speed of atrial contraction independently of phospholamban regulation. This axial couplon was observed in human and mouse atria and is composed of voluminous axial tubules (ATs) with extensive junctions to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) that include ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2) clusters. In mouse AM, AT structures triggered Ca2+ release from the SR approximately 2 times faster at the AM center than at the surface. Rapid Ca2+ release correlated with colocalization of highly phosphorylated RyR2 clusters at AT-SR junctions and earlier, more rapid shortening of central sarcomeres. In contrast, mice expressing phosphorylation-incompetent RyR2 displayed depressed AM sarcomere shortening and reduced in vivo atrial contractile function. Moreover, left atrial hypertrophy led to AT proliferation, with a marked increase in the highly phosphorylated RyR2-pS2808 cluster fraction, thereby maintaining cytosolic Ca2+ signaling despite decreases in RyR2 cluster density and RyR2 protein expression. AT couplon “super-hubs” thus underlie faster excitation-contraction coupling in health as well as hypertrophic compensatory adaptation and represent a structural and metabolic mechanism that may contribute to contractile dysfunction and arrhythmias.
Sören Brandenburg, Tobias Kohl, George S.B. Williams, Konstantin Gusev, Eva Wagner, Eva A. Rog-Zielinska, Elke Hebisch, Miroslav Dura, Michael Didié, Michael Gotthardt, Viacheslav O. Nikolaev, Gerd Hasenfuss, Peter Kohl, Christopher W. Ward, W. Jonathan Lederer, Stephan E. Lehnart
Ventricular arrhythmias are among the most severe complications of heart disease and can result in sudden cardiac death. Patients at risk currently receive implantable defibrillators that deliver electrical shocks to terminate arrhythmias on demand. However, strong electrical shocks can damage the heart and cause severe pain. Therefore, we have tested optogenetic defibrillation using expression of the light-sensitive channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in cardiac tissue. Epicardial illumination effectively terminated ventricular arrhythmias in hearts from transgenic mice and from WT mice after adeno-associated virus–based gene transfer of ChR2. We also explored optogenetic defibrillation for human hearts, taking advantage of a recently developed, clinically validated in silico approach for simulating infarct-related ventricular tachycardia (VT). Our analysis revealed that illumination with red light effectively terminates VT in diseased, ChR2-expressing human hearts. Mechanistically, we determined that the observed VT termination is due to ChR2-mediated transmural depolarization of the myocardium, which causes a block of voltage-dependent Na+ channels throughout the myocardial wall and interrupts wavefront propagation into illuminated tissue. Thus, our results demonstrate that optogenetic defibrillation is highly effective in the mouse heart and could potentially be translated into humans to achieve nondamaging and pain-free termination of ventricular arrhythmia.
Tobias Bruegmann, Patrick M. Boyle, Christoph C. Vogt, Thomas V. Karathanos, Hermenegild J. Arevalo, Bernd K. Fleischmann, Natalia A. Trayanova, Philipp Sasse
NADPH oxidases (Noxes) produce ROS that regulate cell growth and death. NOX4 expression in cardiomyocytes (CMs) plays an important role in cardiac remodeling and injury, but the posttranslational mechanisms that modulate this enzyme are poorly understood. Here, we determined that FYN, a Src family tyrosine kinase, interacts with the C-terminal domain of NOX4. FYN and NOX4 colocalized in perinuclear mitochondria, ER, and nuclear fractions in CMs, and FYN expression negatively regulated NOX4-induced O2– production and apoptosis in CMs. Mechanistically, we found that direct phosphorylation of tyrosine 566 on NOX4 was critical for this FYN-mediated negative regulation. Transverse aortic constriction activated FYN in the left ventricle (LV), and FYN-deficient mice displayed exacerbated cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction and increased ROS production and apoptosis. Deletion of
Shouji Matsushima, Junya Kuroda, Peiyong Zhai, Tong Liu, Shohei Ikeda, Narayani Nagarajan, Shin-ichi Oka, Takashi Yokota, Shintaro Kinugawa, Chiao-Po Hsu, Hong Li, Hiroyuki Tsutsui, Junichi Sadoshima