Dynamic Myofibrillar Remodeling in Live Cardiomyocytes under Static Stretch.
ABSTRACT: An increase in mechanical load in the heart causes cardiac hypertrophy, either physiologically (heart development, exercise and pregnancy) or pathologically (high blood pressure and heart-valve regurgitation). Understanding cardiac hypertrophy is critical to comprehending the mechanisms of heart development and treatment of heart disease. However, the major molecular event that occurs during physiological or pathological hypertrophy is the dynamic process of sarcomeric addition, and it has not been observed. In this study, a custom-built second harmonic generation (SHG) confocal microscope was used to study dynamic sarcomeric addition in single neonatal CMs in a 3D culture system under acute, uniaxial, static, sustained stretch. Here we report, for the first time, live-cell observations of various modes of dynamic sarcomeric addition (and how these real-time images compare to static images from hypertrophic hearts reported in the literature): 1) Insertion in the mid-region or addition at the end of a myofibril; 2) Sequential addition with an existing myofibril as a template; and 3) Longitudinal splitting of an existing myofibril. The 3D cell culture system developed on a deformable substrate affixed to a stretcher and the SHG live-cell imaging technique are unique tools for real-time analysis of cultured models of hypertrophy.
Project description:Impaired cardiac muscle growth and aberrant myocyte arrangement underlie congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy. We show that cardiac-specific inactivation of the murine homeobox transcription factor Prox1 results in the disruption of expression and localisation of sarcomeric proteins, gross myofibril disarray and growth-retarded hearts. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Prox1 is required for direct transcriptional regulation of the genes encoding the structural proteins alpha-actinin, N-RAP and zyxin, which collectively function to maintain an actin-alpha-actinin interaction as the fundamental association of the sarcomere. Aspects of abnormal heart development and the manifestation of a subset of muscular-based disease have previously been attributed to mutations in key structural proteins. Our study reveals an essential requirement for direct transcriptional regulation of sarcomere integrity, in the context of enabling foetal cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, maintenance of contractile function and progression towards inherited or acquired myopathic disease.
Project description:Protein arginylation mediated by arginyltransferase (ATE1) is essential for heart formation during embryogenesis, however its cell-autonomous role in cardiomyocytes and the differentiated heart muscle has never been investigated. To address this question, we generated cardiac muscle-specific Ate1 knockout mice, in which Ate1 deletion was driven by ?-myosin heavy chain promoter (?MHC-Ate1 mouse). These mice were initially viable, but developed severe cardiac contractility defects, dilated cardiomyopathy, and thrombosis over time, resulting in high rates of lethality after 6months of age. These symptoms were accompanied by severe ultrastructural defects in cardiac myofibrils, seen in the newborns and far preceding the onset of cardiomyopathy, suggesting that these defects were primary and likely underlay the development of the future heart defects. Several major sarcomeric proteins were arginylated in vivo. Moreover, Ate1 deletion in the hearts resulted in a significant reduction of active and passive myofibril forces, suggesting that arginylation is critical for both myofibril structural integrity and contractility. Thus, arginylation is essential for maintaining the heart function by regulation of the major myofibril proteins and myofibril forces, and its absence in the heart muscle leads to progressive heart failure through cardiomyocyte-specific defects.
Project description:Cardiomyocyte hypertrophy is a complex cellular behavior involving coordination of cell size expansion and myofibril content increase. Here, we investigate the contribution of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy to cardiac chamber emergence, the process during which the primitive heart tube transforms into morphologically distinct chambers and increases its contractile strength. Focusing on the emergence of the zebrafish ventricle, we observed trends toward increased cell surface area and myofibril content. To examine the extent to which these trends reflect coordinated hypertrophy of individual ventricular cardiomyocytes, we developed a method for tracking cell surface area changes and myofibril dynamics in live embryos. Our data reveal a previously unappreciated heterogeneity of ventricular cardiomyocyte behavior during chamber emergence: although cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was prevalent, many cells did not increase their surface area or myofibril content during the observed timeframe. Despite the heterogeneity of cell behavior, we often found hypertrophic cells neighboring each other. Next, we examined the impact of blood flow on the regulation of cardiomyocyte behavior during this phase of development. When blood flow through the ventricle was reduced, cell surface area expansion and myofibril content increase were both dampened, and the behavior of neighboring cells did not seem coordinated. Together, our studies suggest a model in which hemodynamic forces have multiple influences on cardiac chamber emergence: promoting both cardiomyocyte enlargement and myofibril maturation, enhancing the extent of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, and facilitating the coordination of neighboring cell behaviors.
Project description:Sarcomeric disarray is a hallmark of gene mutations in patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). However, it is unknown when detrimental sarcomeric changes first occur and whether they originate in the developing embryonic heart. Furthermore, Rho Kinase (ROCK) is a serine threonine protein kinase that is critical for regulating the function of several sarcomeric proteins and therefore, our aim was to determine if disruption of ROCK signalling during the earliest stages of heart development would disrupt the integrity of sarcomeres altering heart development and function. Using a mouse model in which the function of ROCK is specifically disrupted in embryonic cardiomyocytes we demonstrate a progressive cardiomyopathy that first appeared as sarcomeric disarray during cardiogenesis. This led to abnormalities in the structure of embryonic ventricular wall and compensatory cardiomyocyte hypertrophy during foetal development. This sarcomeric disruption and hypertrophy persisted throughout adult life, triggering left ventricular concentric hypertrophy with systolic dysfunction, and re-activation of foetal gene expression and cardiac fibrosis, all typical features of HCM. Taken together, our findings establish a novel mechanism for the developmental origin of the sarcomeric phenotype of HCM and suggest that variants in the ROCK genes or disruption of ROCK signalling could, in part, contribute to its pathogenesis.
Project description:Muscles organise pseudo-crystalline arrays of actin, myosin and titin filaments to build force-producing sarcomeres. To study sarcomerogenesis, we have generated a transcriptomics resource of developing Drosophila flight muscles and identified 40 distinct expression profile clusters. Strikingly, most sarcomeric components group in two clusters, which are strongly induced after all myofibrils have been assembled, indicating a transcriptional transition during myofibrillogenesis. Following myofibril assembly, many short sarcomeres are added to each myofibril. Subsequently, all sarcomeres mature, reaching 1.5 µm diameter and 3.2 µm length and acquiring stretch-sensitivity. The efficient induction of the transcriptional transition during myofibrillogenesis, including the transcriptional boost of sarcomeric components, requires in part the transcriptional regulator Spalt major. As a consequence of Spalt knock-down, sarcomere maturation is defective and fibers fail to gain stretch-sensitivity. Together, this defines an ordered sarcomere morphogenesis process under precise transcriptional control - a concept that may also apply to vertebrate muscle or heart development.
Project description:Cells secrete and assemble extracellular matrix throughout development, giving rise to time-dependent, tissue-specific stiffness. Mimicking myocardial matrix stiffening, i.e. ~10-fold increase over 1 week, with a hydrogel system enhances myofibrillar organization of embryonic cardiomyocytes compared to static hydrogels, and thus we sought to identify specific mechanosensitive proteins involved. Expression and/or phosphorylation state of 309 unique protein kinases were examined in embryonic cardiomyocytes plated on either dynamically stiffening or static mature myocardial stiffness hydrogels. Gene ontology analysis of these kinases identified cardiogenic pathways that exhibited time-dependent up-regulation on dynamic versus static matrices, including PI3K/AKT and p38 MAPK, while GSK3?, a known antagonist of cardiomyocyte maturation, was down-regulated. Additionally, inhibiting GSK3? on static matrices improved spontaneous contraction and myofibril organization, while inhibiting agonist AKT on dynamic matrices reduced myofibril organization and spontaneous contraction, confirming its role in mechanically-driven maturation. Together, these data indicate that mechanically-driven maturation is at least partially achieved via active mechanosensing at focal adhesions, affecting expression and phosphorylation of a variety of protein kinases important to cardiomyogenesis.
Project description:Succinylation is a post-translational modification of protein lysine residues with succinyl groups derived from succinyl CoA. Succinylation is considered a significant post-translational modification with the potential to impact protein function which is highly conserved across numerous species. The role of succinylation in the heart, especially in heart failure and myofibril mechanics, remains largely unexplored. Mechanical parameters were measured in myofibrils isolated from failing hearts of ischemic cardiomyopathy patients and non-failing donor controls. We employed mass spectrometry to quantify differential protein expression in myofibrils from failing ischemic cardiomyopathy hearts compared to non-failing hearts. In addition, we combined peptide enrichment by immunoprecipitation with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to quantitatively analyze succinylated lysine residues in these myofibrils. Several key parameters of sarcomeric mechanical interactions were altered in myofibrils isolated from failing ischemic cardiomyopathy hearts, including lower resting tension and a faster rate of activation. Of the 100 differentially expressed proteins, 46 showed increased expression in ischemic heart failure, while 54 demonstrated decreased expression in ischemic heart failure. Our quantitative succinylome analysis identified a total of 572 unique succinylated lysine sites located on 181 proteins, with 307 significantly changed succinylation events. We found that 297 succinyl-Lys demonstrated decreased succinylation on 104 proteins, while 10 residues demonstrated increased succinylation on 4 proteins. Investigating succinyl CoA generation, enzyme activity assays demonstrated that ?-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase and succinate dehydrogenase activities were significantly decreased in ischemic heart failure. An activity assay for succinyl CoA synthetase demonstrated a significant increase in ischemic heart failure. Taken together, our findings support the hypothesis that succinyl CoA production is decreased and succinyl CoA turnover is increased in ischemic heart failure, potentially resulting in an overall decrease in the mitochondrial succinyl CoA pool, which may contribute to decreased myofibril protein succinylation in heart failure.
Project description:Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is caused by mutations in the genes that encode sarcomeric proteins and is primarily characterized by unexplained left ventricular hypertrophy, impaired cardiac function, reduced exercise tolerance, and a relatively high incidence of sudden cardiac death, especially in the young. The extent of left ventricular hypertrophy is one of the major determinants of disease prognosis. Angiotensin II has trophic effects on the heart and plays an important role in the development of myocardial hypertrophy. Here in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, we show that the long-term administration of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist candesartan in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was associated with the significant regression of left ventricular hypertrophy, improvement of left ventricular function, and exercise tolerance. The magnitude of the treatment effect was dependent on specific sarcomeric protein gene mutations that had the greatest responses on the carriers of ss-myosin heavy chain and cardiac myosin binding protein C gene mutations. These data indicate that modulating the role of angiotensin II in the development of hypertrophy is specific with respect to both the affected sarcomeric protein gene and the affected codon within that gene. Thus, angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockade has the potential to attenuate myocardial hypertrophy and may, therefore, provide a new treatment option to prevent sudden cardiac death in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is an essential physiological and pathological regulator of cardiac relaxation. Significant to this regulation, the post-translational modification of cTnI through phosphorylation functions as a key mechanism to accelerate myofibril relaxation. Similar to phosphorylation, post-translational modification by acetylation alters amino acid charge and protein function. Recent studies have demonstrated that the acetylation of cardiac myofibril proteins accelerates relaxation and that cTnI is acetylated in the heart. These findings highlight the potential significance of myofilament acetylation; however, it is not known if site-specific acetylation of cTnI can lead to changes in myofilament, myofibril, and/or cellular mechanics. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of mimicking acetylation at a single site of cTnI (lysine-132; K132) on myofilament, myofibril, and cellular mechanics and elucidate its influence on molecular function. METHODS:To determine if pseudo-acetylation of cTnI at 132 modulates thin filament regulation of the acto-myosin interaction, we reconstituted thin filaments containing WT or K132Q (to mimic acetylation) cTnI and assessed in vitro motility. To test if mimicking acetylation at K132 alters cellular relaxation, adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes were infected with adenoviral constructs expressing either cTnI K132Q or K132 replaced with arginine (K132R; to prevent acetylation) and cell shortening and isolated myofibril mechanics were measured. Finally, to confirm that changes in cell shortening and myofibril mechanics were directly due to pseudo-acetylation of cTnI at K132, we exchanged troponin containing WT or K132Q cTnI into isolated myofibrils and measured myofibril mechanical properties. RESULTS:Reconstituted thin filaments containing K132Q cTnI exhibited decreased calcium sensitivity compared to thin filaments reconstituted with WT cTnI. Cardiomyocytes expressing K132Q cTnI had faster relengthening and myofibrils isolated from these cells had faster relaxation along with decreased calcium sensitivity compared to cardiomyocytes expressing WT or K132R cTnI. Myofibrils exchanged with K132Q cTnI ex vivo demonstrated faster relaxation and decreased calcium sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicate for the first time that mimicking acetylation of a specific cTnI lysine accelerates myofilament, myofibril, and myocyte relaxation. This work underscores the importance of understanding how acetylation of specific sarcomeric proteins affects cardiac homeostasis and disease and suggests that modulation of myofilament lysine acetylation may represent a novel therapeutic target to alter cardiac relaxation.
Project description:The sarcomeric tropomodulin (Tmod) isoforms Tmod1 and Tmod4 cap thin filament pointed ends and functionally interact with the leiomodin (Lmod) isoforms Lmod2 and Lmod3 to control myofibril organization, thin filament lengths, and actomyosin crossbridge formation in skeletal muscle fibers. Here, we show that Tmod4 is more abundant than Tmod1 at both the transcript and protein level in a variety of muscle types, but the relative abundances of sarcomeric Tmods are muscle specific. We then generate Tmod4(-/-) mice, which exhibit normal thin filament lengths, myofibril organization, and skeletal muscle contractile function owing to compensatory upregulation of Tmod1, together with an Lmod isoform switch wherein Lmod3 is downregulated and Lmod2 is upregulated. However, RNAi depletion of Tmod1 from either wild-type or Tmod4(-/-) muscle fibers leads to thin filament elongation by ?15%. Thus, Tmod1 per se, rather than total sarcomeric Tmod levels, controls thin filament lengths in mouse skeletal muscle, whereas Tmod4 appears to be dispensable for thin filament length regulation. These findings identify Tmod1 as the key direct regulator of thin filament length in skeletal muscle, in both adult muscle homeostasis and in developmentally compensated contexts.