Intercalated disc abnormalities, reduced Na(+) current density, and conduction slowing in desmoglein-2 mutant mice prior to cardiomyopathic changes.
ABSTRACT Mutations in genes encoding desmosomal proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). However, the consequences of these mutations in early disease stages are unknown. We investigated whether mutation-induced intercalated disc remodelling impacts on electrophysiological properties before the onset of cell death and replacement fibrosis.
Transgenic mice with cardiac overexpression of mutant Desmoglein2 (Dsg2) Dsg2-N271S (Tg-NS/L) were studied before and after the onset of cell death and replacement fibrosis. Mice with cardiac overexpression of wild-type Dsg2 and wild-type mice served as controls. Assessment by electron microscopy established that intercellular space widening at the desmosomes/adherens junctions occurred in Tg-NS/L mice before the onset of necrosis and fibrosis. At this stage, epicardial mapping in Langendorff-perfused hearts demonstrated prolonged ventricular activation time, reduced longitudinal and transversal conduction velocities, and increased arrhythmia inducibility. A reduced action potential (AP) upstroke velocity due to a lower Na(+) current density was also observed at this stage of the disease. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation demonstrated an in vivo interaction between Dsg2 and the Na(+) channel protein Na(V)1.5.
Intercellular space widening at the level of the intercalated disc (desmosomes/adherens junctions) and a concomitant reduction in AP upstroke velocity as a consequence of lower Na(+) current density lead to slowed conduction and increased arrhythmia susceptibility at disease stages preceding the onset of necrosis and replacement fibrosis. The demonstration of an in vivo interaction between Dsg2 and Na(V)1.5 provides a molecular pathway for the observed electrical disturbances during the early ARVC stages.
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ABSTRACT: Cardiomyocytes grow during heart maturation or disease-related cardiac remodeling. We present evidence that the intercalated disc (ID) is integral to both longitudinal and lateral growth: increases in width are accommodated by lateral extension of the plicate tread regions and increases in length by sarcomere insertion within the ID. At the margin between myofibril and the folded membrane of the ID lies a transitional junction through which the thin filaments from the last sarcomere run to the ID membrane and it has been suggested that this junction acts as a proto Z-disc for sarcomere addition. In support of this hypothesis, we have investigated the ultrastructure of the ID in mouse hearts from control and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) models, the MLP-null and a cardiac-specific β-catenin mutant, cΔex3, as well as in human left ventricle from normal and DCM samples. We find that the ID amplitude can vary tenfold from 0.2 μm up to a maximum of ~2 μm allowing gradual expansion during heart growth. At the greatest amplitude, equivalent to a sarcomere length, A-bands and thick filaments are found within the ID membrane loops together with a Z-disc, which develops at the transitional junction position. Here, also, the tops of the membrane folds, which are rich in αII spectrin, become enlarged and associated with junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum. Systematically larger ID amplitudes are found in DCM samples. Other morphological differences between mouse DCM and normal hearts suggest that sarcomere inclusion is compromised in the diseased hearts.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 05/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Desmosomes are dynamic junctions between cells that maintain the structural integrity of skin and heart tissues by withstanding shear forces. Mutations in component genes cause life threatening conditions including arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, and desmosomal proteins are targeted by pathogenic autoantibodies in skin blistering diseases such as pemphigus. Here we review a set of newly discovered pathogenic alterations, and discuss the structural repercussions of debilitating mutations on desmosomal proteins. The architectures of native desmosomal assemblies have been visualised by cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography, and the network of protein domain interactions is becoming apparent. Plakophilin and desmoplakin mutations have been discovered to alter binding interfaces, structures and stabilities of folded domains which have been resolved by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. The flexibility within desmoplakin has been revealed by small angle X-ray scattering and fluorescence assays, explaining how mechanical stresses are accommodated. These studies have shown that the structural and functional consequences of desmosomal mutations can now begin to be understood at multiple levels of spatial and temporal resolution. This review discusses the recent structural insights and raises the possibility of using modelling for mechanism-based diagnosis of how deleterious mutations alter the integrity of solid tissues.Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2013; · 3.91 Impact Factor