Abstract 294: Atrogin-1 Is Required for Atrophic Remodeling of the Heart
The heart adapts to changes in load by remodeling both metabolically and structurally. During this process, cardiomyocytes break down unnecessary or damaged proteins and use the resulting amino acids for the synthesis of new proteins and/or energy provision. Protein degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome system is controlled by ubiquitin ligases, which determine the specific proteins to be degraded. Atrogin-1 is a muscle specific ubiquitin ligase required for skeletal muscle atrophy, and over-expressing Atrogin-1 inhibits the development of cardiac hypertrophy. We tested the hypothesis that Atrogin-1 is required for atrophic remodeling of the unloaded heart. Hearts from wild type (WT) and Atrogin-1 -/- mice were subjected to mechanical unloading by heterotopic transplantation. In WT hearts, seven days of unloading significantly reduced heart weight and myocyte cross-sectional area, while hearts lacking Atrogin-1 significantly hypertrophied. Conventional markers of atrophic remodeling, such as the reactivation of the fetal gene program were detected in both WT and Atrogin-1 -/-transplanted hearts. Proteasome activity and markers of autophagy were increased after unloading, although not significantly different between WT and Atrogin-1 -/- hearts. Pathways regulating protein synthesis were enhanced in the absence of Atrogin-1; there was an increase in activated Akt and its downstream pathway including mTOR, 4E-BP1, and p70 S6 kinase. Additionally, calcinuerin, a known target of Atrogin-1 involved in hypertrophy and protein synthesis, was upregulated in unloaded Atrogin-1 deficient hearts. Consequently, μunloaded” cardiomyocytes lacking Atrogin-1 in vitro exhibit increased basal rates of protein synthesis. While inhibition of calcineurin decreased rates of protein synthesis in unloaded cardiomyocytes in the absence of Atrogin-1, protein synthesis rates were still higher than in WT unloaded cardiomyocytes. These results suggest that more than one pathway regulating protein synthesis is controlled by Atrogin-1 in the heart. Furthermore, the data provide evidence that Atrogin-1 not only enhances protein degradation, but also keeps protein synthesis in check. Thus Atrogin-1 has a duel role in regulating cardiac mass.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.