Cardiac phenotype induced by a dysfunctional ? 1C transgene: a general problem for the transgenic approach.
ABSTRACT: Based on stable integration of recombinant DNA into a host genome, transgenic technology has become an important genetic engineering methodology. An organism whose genetic characteristics have been altered by the insertion of foreign DNA is supposed to exhibit a new phenotype associated with the function of the transgene. However, successful insertion may not be sufficient to achieve specific modification of function. In this study we describe a strain of transgenic mouse, G7-882, generated by incorporation into the mouse genome of human CaV 1.2 ?(1C) cDNA deprived of 3'-UTR to exclude transcription. We found that, in response to chronic infusion of isoproterenol, G7-882 develops dilated cardiomyopathy, a misleading "transgenic artifact" compatible with the expected function of the incorporated "correct" transgene. Specifically, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we found that chronic ?-adrenergic stimulation of G7-882 mice caused left ventricular hypertrophy and aggravated development of dilated cardiomyopathy, although no significant changes in the kinetics, density and voltage dependence of the calcium current were observed in G7-882 cardiomyocytes as compared to cells from wild type mice. This result illustrates the possibility that even when a functional transgene is expressed, an observed change in phenotype may be due to the artifact of "incidental incorporation" leading to misleading conclusions. To exclude this possibility and thus provide a robust tool for exploring biological function, the new transgenic phenotype must be replicated in several independently generated transgenic strains.
Project description:To elucidate the mechanisms for reverse LV remodeling, we generated a conditional (doxycycline [dox] off) transgenic mouse tetracycline transactivating factor-TRAF2 (tTA-TRAF2) that develops a dilated heart failure (HF) phenotype upon expression of a proinflammatory transgene, TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2), and complete normalization of LV structure and function when the transgene is suppressed. tTA-TRAF2 mice developed a significant increase in LV dimension with decreased contractile function, which was completely normalized in the tTA-TRAF2 mice fed dox for 4 weeks (tTA-TRAF2dox4W). Normalization of LV structure and function was accompanied by partial normalization (~60%) of gene expression associated with incident HF. Similar findings were observed in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy who underwent reverse LV remodeling following mechanical circulatory support. Persistence of the HF gene program was associated with an exaggerated hypertrophic response and increased mortality in tTA-TRAF2dox4W mice following transaortic constriction (TAC). These effects were no longer observed following TAC in tTA-TRAF2dox8W, wherein there was a more complete (88%) reversal of the incident HF genes. These results demonstrate that reverse LV remodeling is associated with improvements in cardiac myocyte biology; however, the persistence of the abnormal HF gene program may be maladaptive following perturbations in hemodynamic loading conditions.
Project description:A line of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice expressing the human diabetes-associated HLA-DQ8 transgene in the absence of mouse IAbeta failed to show spontaneous insulitis or diabetes, but rather developed dilated cardiomyopathy, leading to early death from heart failure. Pathology in these animals results from an organ- and cell-specific autoimmune response against normal cardiomyoctes in the atrial and ventricular walls, as well as against very similar myocytes present in the outermost muscle layer surrounding the pulmonary veins. Progression of the autoimmune process could be followed by serial ECG measurements; irradiation of young animals significantly delayed disease progression, and this effect could be reversed by adoptive transfer of splenocytes taken from older animals with complete heart block. Disease progression could also be blocked by cyclosporin A treatment, but was accelerated by injection of complete Fruend's adjuvant. The constellation of findings of spontaneously arising destructive focal lymphocytic infiltrates within the myocardium, rising titers of circulating anticardiac autoantibodies, dilation of the cardiac chambers, and gradual progression to end-stage heart failure bears a striking resemblance to what is seen in humans with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, a serious and often life-threatening medical condition. This transgenic strain provides a highly relevant animal model for human autoimmune myocarditis and postinflammatory dilated cardiomyopathy.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster genetics provides the advantage of molecularly defined P-element insertions and deletions that span the entire genome. Although Drosophila has been extensively used as a model system to study heart development, it has not been used to dissect the genetics of adult human heart disease because of an inability to phenotype the adult fly heart in vivo. Here we report the development of a strategy to measure cardiac function in awake adult Drosophila that opens the field of Drosophila genetics to the study of human dilated cardiomyopathies. Through the application of optical coherence tomography, we accurately distinguish between normal and abnormal cardiac function based on measurements of internal cardiac chamber dimensions in vivo. Normal Drosophila have a fractional shortening of 87 +/- 4%, whereas cardiomyopathic flies that contain a mutation in troponin I or tropomyosin show severe impairment of systolic function. To determine whether the fly can be used as a model system to recapitulate human dilated cardiomyopathy, we generated transgenic Drosophila with inducible cardiac expression of a mutant of human delta-sarcoglycan (deltasg(S151A)), which has previously been associated with familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Compared to transgenic flies overexpressing wild-type deltasg, or the standard laboratory strain w(1118), Drosophila expressing deltasg(S151A) developed marked impairment of systolic function and significantly enlarged cardiac chambers. These data illustrate the utility of Drosophila as a model system to study dilated cardiomyopathy and the applicability of the vast genetic resources available in Drosophila to systematically study the genetic mechanisms responsible for human cardiac disease.
Project description:Dilated cardiomyopathy is a frequent cause of heart failure and death. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) is a biomarker of dilated cardiomyopathy, but there is controversy whether ANP modulates the development of heart failure. Therefore, we examined whether ANP affects heart failure, cardiac remodeling, function, and survival in a well-characterized, transgenic model of dilated cardiomyopathy. Mice with dilated cardiomyopathy with normal ANP levels survived longer than mice with partial ANP (P<0.01) or full ANP deficiency (P<0.001). In dilated cardiomyopathy mice, ANP protected against the development of heart failure as indicated by reduced lung water, alveolar congestion, pleural effusions, etc. ANP improved systolic function and reduced cardiomegaly. Pathological cardiac remodeling was diminished in mice with normal ANP as indicated by decreased ventricular interstitial and perivascular fibrosis. Mice with dilated cardiomyopathy and normal ANP levels had better systolic function (P<0.001) than mice with dilated cardiomyopathy and ANP deficiency. Dilated cardiomyopathy was associated with diminished cardiac transcripts for NP receptors A and B in mice with normal ANP and ANP deficiency, but transcripts for NP receptor C and C-type natriuretic peptide were selectively altered in mice with dilated cardiomyopathy and ANP deficiency. Taken together, these data indicate that ANP has potent effects in experimental dilated cardiomyopathy that reduce the development of heart failure, prevent pathological remodeling, preserve systolic function, and reduce mortality. Despite the apparent overlap in physiological function between the NPs, these data suggest that the role of ANP in dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure is not compensated physiologically by other NPs.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, is a multifunctional cytokine known to regulate cellular functions in contexts of injury and disease through its receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible molecule 14 (Fn14). Although many of the processes and downstream signals regulated by the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway have been implicated in the development of cardiac dysfunction, the role of TWEAK in the cardiovascular system is completely unknown.Herein, we demonstrate that mouse and human cardiomyocytes express the TWEAK receptor Fn14. Furthermore, we determine that elevated circulating levels of TWEAK, induced via transgenic or adenoviral-mediated gene expression in mice, result in dilated cardiomyopathy with subsequent severe cardiac dysfunction. This phenotype was mediated exclusively by the Fn14 receptor, independent of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and was associated with cardiomyocyte elongation and cardiac fibrosis but not cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Moreover, we find that circulating TWEAK levels were differentially upregulated in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy compared with other forms of heart disease and normal control subjects.Our data suggest that TWEAK/Fn14 may be important in regulating myocardial structural remodeling and function and may play a role in the pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genetic variation is an important determinant of RNA transcription and splicing, which in turn contributes to variation in human traits, including cardiovascular diseases. RESULTS:Here we report the first in-depth survey of heart transcriptome variation using RNA-sequencing in 97 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and 108 non-diseased controls. We reveal extensive differences of gene expression and splicing between dilated cardiomyopathy patients and controls, affecting known as well as novel dilated cardiomyopathy genes. Moreover, we show a widespread effect of genetic variation on the regulation of transcription, isoform usage, and allele-specific expression. Systematic annotation of genome-wide association SNPs identifies 60 functional candidate genes for heart phenotypes, representing 20% of all published heart genome-wide association loci. Focusing on the dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype we found that eQTL variants are also enriched for dilated cardiomyopathy genome-wide association signals in two independent cohorts. CONCLUSIONS:RNA transcription, splicing, and allele-specific expression are each important determinants of the dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype and are controlled by genetic factors. Our results represent a powerful resource for the field of cardiovascular genetics.
Project description:Inflammation is a major factor in heart disease. I?B kinase (IKK) and its downstream target NF-?B are regulators of inflammation and are activated in cardiac disorders, but their precise contributions and targets are unclear. We analyzed IKK/NF-?B function in the heart by a gain-of-function approach, generating an inducible transgenic mouse model with cardiomyocyte-specific expression of constitutively active IKK2. In adult animals, IKK2 activation led to inflammatory dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Transgenic hearts showed infiltration with CD11b(+) cells, fibrosis, fetal reprogramming, and atrophy of myocytes with strong constitutively active IKK2 expression. Upon transgene inactivation, the disease was reversible even at an advanced stage. IKK-induced cardiomyopathy was dependent on NF-?B activation, as in vivo expression of I?B? superrepressor, an inhibitor of NF-?B, prevented the development of disease. Gene expression and proteomic analyses revealed enhanced expression of inflammatory cytokines, and an IFN type I signature with activation of the IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) pathway. In that respect, IKK-induced cardiomyopathy resembled Coxsackievirus-induced myocarditis, during which the NF-?B and ISG15 pathways were also activated. Vice versa, in cardiomyocytes lacking the regulatory subunit of IKK (IKK?/NEMO), the induction of ISG15 was attenuated. We conclude that IKK/NF-?B activation in cardiomyocytes is sufficient to cause cardiomyopathy and heart failure by inducing an excessive inflammatory response and myocyte atrophy.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate many aspects of cellular function and their deregulation has been implicated in heart disease. MiRNA-30c is differentially expressed in the heart during the progression towards heart failure and in vitro studies hint to its importance in cellular physiology. As little is known about the in vivo function of miRNA-30c in the heart, we generated transgenic mice that specifically overexpress miRNA-30c in cardiomyocytes. We show that these mice display no abnormalities until about 6 weeks of age, but subsequently develop a severely dilated cardiomyopathy. Gene expression analysis of the miRNA-30c transgenic hearts before onset of the phenotype indicated disturbed mitochondrial function. This was further evident by the downregulation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes III and IV at the protein level. Taken together these data indicate impaired mitochondrial function due to OXPHOS protein depletion as a potential cause for the observed dilated cardiomyopathic phenotype in miRNA-30c transgenic mice. We thus establish an in vivo role for miRNA-30c in cardiac physiology, particularly in mitochondrial function.
Project description:The C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N mice have well-documented phenotypic and genotypic differences, including the infamous nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (Nnt) null mutation in the C57BL/6J substrain, which has been linked to cardiovascular traits in mice and cardiomyopathy in humans. To assess whether Nnt loss alone causes a cardiovascular phenotype, we investigated the C57BL/6N, C57BL/6J mice and a C57BL/6J-BAC transgenic rescuing NNT expression, at 3, 12, and 18 mo. We identified a modest dilated cardiomyopathy in the C57BL/6N mice, absent in the two B6J substrains. Immunofluorescent staining of cardiomyocytes revealed eccentric hypertrophy in these mice, with defects in sarcomere organisation. RNAseq analysis identified differential expression of a number of cardiac remodelling genes commonly associated with cardiac disease segregating with the phenotype. Variant calling from RNAseq data identified a myosin light chain kinase 3 (Mylk3) mutation in C57BL/6N mice, which abolishes MYLK3 protein expression. These results indicate the C57BL/6J Nnt-null mice do not develop cardiomyopathy; however, we identified a null mutation in Mylk3 as a credible cause of the cardiomyopathy phenotype in the C57BL/6N.
Project description:Heart failure, caused by dilated cardiomyopathy and other cardiac disorders such as hypertension, is a major public health problem with high morbidity and mortality. Corin, a cardiac enzyme that cleaves natriuretic peptides, is a promising biomarker of cardiomyopathy and heart failure, but its functional role in these processes is not understood. We evaluated the potential effects of corin in mice with a well-characterized model of dilated cardiomyopathy. Mice with dilated cardiomyopathy developed heart failure, reduced contractile function, cardiac fibrosis, and accelerated mortality in the setting of low corin expression. In wild-type mice, transgenic, cardiac-targeted, overexpression of corin enhanced cyclic guanosine monophosphate and blood pressure responses to pro-atrial natriuretic peptide, but did not affect heart size, contractility, body weights, survival, and blood pressure. In mice with dilated cardiomyopathy, corin overexpression significantly reduced the development of myocardial fibrosis (P<0.05). Corin overexpression also enhanced heart contractile function (fractional shortening and ejection fraction; P<0.01) and it significantly reduced heart failure as assessed by lung water (P<0.05) and alveolar congestion (P<0.001). Consistent with these observations, corin overexpression significantly prolonged life in mice with dilated cardiomyopathy (P<0.0001). These results provide the first experimental evidence that corin expression plays a role in cardiomyopathy by modulating myocardial fibrosis, cardiac function, heart failure, and survival.