Indexed on: 23 Dec '11Published on: 23 Dec '11Published in: Basic Research in Cardiology
Several lines of evidence suggest that alterations of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) may be involved in cardiac diseases. Little is known, however, in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This study studied these pathways in two mouse models of HCM that mainly differ by the presence or absence of truncated mutant proteins. Analyses were performed in homozygous Mybpc3-targeted knock-in (KI) mice, carrying a HCM mutation and exhibiting low levels of mutant cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBP-C), and in Mybpc3-targeted knock-out (KO) mice expressing no cMyBP-C, thus serving as a model of pure cMyBP-C insufficiency. In the early postnatal development of cardiac hypertrophy, both models showed higher levels of ubiquitinated proteins and greater proteasomal activities. To specifically monitor the degradation capacity of the UPS with age, mice were crossed with transgenic mice that overexpress Ub(G76V)-GFP. Ub(G76V)-GFP protein levels were fourfold higher in 1-year-old KI, but not KO mice, suggesting a specific UPS impairment in mice expressing truncated cMyBP-C. Whereas protein levels of key ALP markers were higher, suggesting ALP activation in both mutant mice, their mRNA levels did not differ between the groups, underlying rather defective ALP-mediated degradation. Analysis of key proteins regulated in heart failure did not reveal specific alterations in KI and KO mice. Our data suggest (1) UPS activation in early postnatal development of cardiac hypertrophy, (2) specific UPS impairment in old KI mice carrying a HCM mutation, and (3) defective ALP as a common mechanism in genetically engineered mice with cardiac hypertrophy.