Dr. Yan, Yu-Ting 顏裕庭 博士



HSPB7 prevents cardiac conduction system defect through maintaining intercalated disc integrity

PLoS Genetics, Aug 21, 2017

HSPB7 is a member of the small heat-shock protein (HSPB) family and is expressed in the cardiomyocytes from cardiogenesis onwards. A dramatic increase in HSPB7 is detected in the heart and blood plasma immediately after myocardial infarction. Additionally, several single-nucleotide polymorphisms of HSPB7 have been identified to be associated with heart failure caused by cardiomyopathy in human patients. Although a recent study has shown that HSPB7 is required for maintaining myofiber structure in skeletal muscle, its molecular and physiological functions in the heart remain unclear. In the present study, we generated a cardiac-specific inducible HSPB7 knockout mouse and demonstrated that the loss of HSPB7 in cardiomyocytes results in rapid heart failure and sudden death. The electrocardiogram showed cardiac arrhythmia with abnormal conduction in the HSPB7 mutant mice before death. In HSPB7 CKO cardiomyocytes, no significant defect was detected in the organization of contractile proteins in sarcomeres, but a severe structural disruption was observed in the intercalated discs. The expression of connexin 43, a gap-junction protein located at the intercalated discs, was downregulated in HSPB7 knockout cardiomyocytes. Mislocalization of desmoplakin, and N-cadherin, the intercalated disc proteins, was also observed in the HSPB7 CKO hearts. Furthermore, filamin C, the interaction protein of HSPB7, was upregulated and aggregated in HSPB7 mutant cardiomyocytes. In conclusion, our findings characterize HSPB7 as an intercalated disc protein and suggest it has an essential role in maintaining intercalated disc integrity and conduction function in the adult heart.

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