[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelial cells play essential roles in maintenance of vascular integrity, angiogenesis, and wound repair. We show that an endothelial cell-restricted microRNA (miR-126) mediates developmental angiogenesis in vivo. Targeted deletion of miR-126 in mice causes leaky vessels, hemorrhaging, and partial embryonic lethality, due to a loss of vascular integrity and defects in endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis. The subset of mutant animals that survives displays defective cardiac neovascularization following myocardial infarction. The vascular abnormalities of miR-126 mutant mice resemble the consequences of diminished signaling by angiogenic growth factors, such as VEGF and FGF. Accordingly, miR-126 enhances the proangiogenic actions of VEGF and FGF and promotes blood vessel formation by repressing the expression of Spred-1, an intracellular inhibitor of angiogenic signaling. These findings have important therapeutic implications for a variety of disorders involving abnormal angiogenesis and vascular leakage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Learning and memory depend on the activity-dependent structural plasticity of synapses and changes in neuronal gene expression. We show that deletion of the MEF2C transcription factor in the CNS of mice impairs hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. Unexpectedly, these behavioral changes were accompanied by a marked increase in the number of excitatory synapses and potentiation of basal and evoked synaptic transmission. Conversely, neuronal expression of a superactivating form of MEF2C results in a reduction of excitatory postsynaptic sites without affecting learning and memory performance. We conclude that MEF2C limits excessive synapse formation during activity-dependent refinement of synaptic connectivity and thus facilitates hippocampal-dependent learning and memory.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2008; 105(27):9391-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HDAC4 is a Class II histone deacetylase (HDAC) that is highly expressed in the brain, but whose functional significance in the brain is not known. We show that forced expression of HDAC4 in cerebellar granule neurons protects them against low potassium-induced apoptosis. HDAC4 also protects HT22 neuroblastoma cells from death induced by oxidative stress. HDAC4-mediated neuroprotection does not require its HDAC catalytic domain and cannot be inhibited by chemical inhibitors of HDACs. Neuroprotection by HDAC4 also does not require the Raf-MEK-ERK or the PI-3 kinase-Akt signaling pathways and occurs despite the activation of c-jun, an event that is generally believed to condemn neurons to die. The protective action of HDAC4 occurs in the nucleus and is mediated by a region that contains the nuclear localization signal. HDAC4 inhibits the activity of cyclin-dependent kinase-1 (CDK1) and the progression of proliferating HEK293T and HT22 cells through the cell cycle. Mice-lacking HDAC4 have elevated CDK1 activity and display cerebellar abnormalities including a progressive loss of Purkinje neurons postnatally in posterior lobes. Surviving Purkinje neurons in these lobes have duplicated soma. Furthermore, large numbers of cells within these affected lobes incorporate BrdU, indicating cell-cycle progression. These abnormalities along with the ability of HDAC4 to inhibit CDK1 and cell-cycle progression in cultured cells suggest that neuroprotection by HDAC4 is mediated by preventing abortive cell-cycle progression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle consists of type I and type II myofibers, which exhibit different metabolic and contractile properties. Type I fibers display an oxidative metabolism and are resistant to fatigue, whereas type II fibers are primarily glycolytic and suited for rapid bursts of activity. These properties can be modified by changes in workload, activity, and hormonal stimuli, facilitating muscle adaptation to physiological demand. The MEF2 transcription factor promotes the formation of slow-twitch (type I) muscle fibers in response to activity. MEF2 activity is repressed by class II histone deacetylases (HDACs) and is enhanced by calcium-regulated protein kinases that promote the export of class II HDACs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. However, the identities of skeletal muscle class II HDAC kinases are not well defined. Here we demonstrate that protein kinase D1 (PKD1), a highly effective class II HDAC kinase, is predominantly expressed in type I myofibers and, when misexpressed in type II myofibers, promotes transformation to a type I, slow-twitch, fatigue-resistant phenotype. Conversely, genetic deletion of PKD1 in type I myofibers increases susceptibility to fatigue. PKD1 cooperates with calcineurin to facilitate slow-twitch-fiber transformation. These findings identify PKD1 as a key regulator of skeletal muscle function and phenotype.
Molecular and cellular biology 07/2008; 28(11):3600-9. · 6.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: VEGF has been shown to regulate endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration. However, the nuclear mediators of the actions of VEGF in ECs have not been fully defined. We show that VEGF induces the phosphorylation of three conserved serine residues in histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) via protein kinase D, which promotes nuclear export of HDAC7 and activation of VEGF-responsive genes in ECs. Expression of a signal-resistant HDAC7 mutant protein in ECs inhibits proliferation and migration in response to VEGF. These results demonstrate that phosphorylation of HDAC7 serves as a molecular switch to mediate VEGF signaling and endothelial function.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2008; 105(22):7738-43. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcineurin activation ameliorates the dystrophic pathology of hindlimb muscles in mdx mice and decreases their susceptibility to contraction damage. In mdx mice, the diaphragm is more severely affected than hindlimb muscles and more representative of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The constitutively active calcineurin Aalpha transgene (CnAalpha) was overexpressed in skeletal muscles of mdx (mdx CnAalpha*) mice to test whether muscle morphology and function would be improved. Contractile function of diaphragm strips and extensor digitorum longus and soleus muscles from adult mdx CnAalpha* and mdx mice was examined in vitro. Hindlimb muscles from mdx CnAalpha* mice had a prolonged twitch time course and were more resistant to fatigue. Because of a slower phenotype and a decrease in fiber cross-sectional area, normalized force was lower in fast- and slow-twitch muscles of mdx CnAalpha* than mdx mice. In the diaphragm, despite a slower phenotype and a approximately 35% reduction in fiber size, normalized force was preserved. This was likely mediated by the reduction in the area of the diaphragm undergoing degeneration (i.e., mononuclear cell and connective and adipose tissue infiltration). The proportion of centrally nucleated fibers was reduced in mdx CnAalpha* compared with mdx mice, indicative of improved myofiber viability. In hindlimb muscles of mdx mice, calcineurin activation increased expression of markers of regeneration, particularly developmental myosin heavy chain isoform and myocyte enhancer factor 2A. Thus activation of the calcineurin signal transduction pathway has potential to ameliorate the mdx pathophysiology, especially in the diaphragm, through its effects on muscle degeneration and regeneration and endurance capacity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult heart responds to biomechanical stress and neurohormonal signaling by hypertrophic growth, accompanied by fibrosis, diminished pump function, and activation of a fetal gene program. Class II histone deacetylases (HDACs) suppress stress-dependent remodeling of the heart via their association with the MEF2 transcription factor, an activator of heart disease. Protein kinase D (PKD) is a stress-responsive kinase that phosphorylates class II HDACs, resulting in their dissociation from MEF2 with consequent activation of MEF2 target genes. To test whether PKD1 is required for pathological cardiac remodeling in vivo, we generated mice with a conditional PKD1-null allele. Mice with cardiac-specific deletion of PKD1 were viable and showed diminished hypertrophy, fibrosis, and fetal gene activation as well as improved cardiac function in response to pressure overload or chronic adrenergic and angiotensin II signaling. We conclude that PKD1 functions as a key transducer of stress stimuli involved in pathological cardiac remodeling in vivo.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(8):3059-63. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The heart adapts to changes in nutritional status and energy demands by adjusting its relative metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids. Loss of this metabolic flexibility such as occurs in diabetes mellitus is associated with cardiovascular disease and heart failure. To study the long-term consequences of impaired metabolic flexibility, we have generated mice that overexpress pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK)4 selectively in the heart. Hearts from PDK4 transgenic mice have a marked decrease in glucose oxidation and a corresponding increase in fatty acid catabolism. Although no overt cardiomyopathy was observed in the PDK4 transgenic mice, introduction of the PDK4 transgene into mice expressing a constitutively active form of the phosphatase calcineurin, which causes cardiac hypertrophy, caused cardiomyocyte fibrosis and a striking increase in mortality. These results demonstrate that cardiac-specific overexpression of PDK4 is sufficient to cause a loss of metabolic flexibility that exacerbates cardiomyopathy caused by the calcineurin stress-activated pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult heart responds to excessive neurohumoral signaling and workload by a pathological growth response characterized by hypertrophy of cardiomyocytes and activation of a fetal program of cardiac gene expression. These responses culminate in diminished pump function, ventricular dilatation, wall thinning, and fibrosis, and can result in sudden death. Myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) transcription factors serve as targets of the signaling pathways that drive pathological cardiac remodeling, but the requirement for MEF2 factors in the progression of heart disease in vivo has not been determined. MEF2A and MEF2D are the primary MEF2 factors expressed in the adult heart. To specifically determine the role of MEF2D in pathological cardiac remodeling, we generated mice with a conditional MEF2D allele. MEF2D-null mice were viable, but were resistant to cardiac hypertrophy, fetal gene activation, and fibrosis in response to pressure overload and beta-chronic adrenergic stimulation. Furthermore, we show in a transgenic mouse model that forced overexpression of MEF2D was sufficient to drive the fetal gene program and pathological remodeling of the heart. These results reveal a unique and important function for MEF2D in stress-dependent cardiac growth and reprogramming of gene expression in the adult heart.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 02/2008; 118(1):124-32. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors cooperate with the MyoD family of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors to drive skeletal muscle development during embryogenesis, but little is known about the potential functions of MEF2 factors in postnatal skeletal muscle. Here we show that skeletal muscle-specific deletion of Mef2c in mice results in disorganized myofibers and perinatal lethality. In contrast, neither Mef2a nor Mef2d is required for normal skeletal muscle development in vivo. Skeletal muscle deficient in Mef2c differentiates and forms normal myofibers during embryogenesis, but myofibers rapidly deteriorate after birth due to disorganized sarcomeres and a loss of integrity of the M line. Microarray analysis of Mef2c null muscles identified several muscle structural genes that depend on MEF2C, including those encoding the M-line-specific proteins myomesin and M protein. We show that MEF2C directly regulates myomesin gene transcription and that loss of Mef2c in skeletal muscle results in improper sarcomere organization. These results reveal a key role for Mef2c in maintenance of sarcomere integrity and postnatal maturation of skeletal muscle.
Molecular and cellular biology 01/2008; 27(23):8143-51. · 6.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The muscle-specific microRNAs, miR-1 and miR-133, play important roles in muscle growth and differentiation. Here, we show that the MEF2 transcription factor, an essential regulator of muscle development, directly activates transcription of a bicistronic primary transcript encoding miR-1-2 and 133a-1 via an intragenic muscle-specific enhancer located between the miR-1-2 and 133a-1 coding regions. This MEF2-dependent enhancer is activated in the linear heart tube during mouse embryogenesis and thereafter controls transcription throughout the atrial and ventricular chambers of the heart. MEF2 together with MyoD also regulates the miR-1-2/-133a-1 intragenic enhancer in the somite myotomes and in all skeletal muscle fibers during embryogenesis and adulthood. A similar muscle-specific intragenic enhancer controls transcription of the miR-1-1/-133a-2 locus. These findings reveal a common architecture of regulatory elements associated with the miR-1/-133 genes and underscore the central role of MEF2 as a regulator of the transcriptional and posttranscriptional pathways that control cardiac and skeletal muscle development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2008; 104(52):20844-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atrial cardiomyocytes, neurons, and endocrine tissues secrete neurotransmitters and peptide hormones via large dense-core vesicles (LDCVs). We describe a new member of the Ras family of G-proteins, named RRP17, which is expressed specifically in cardiomyocytes, neurons, and the pancreas. RRP17 interacts with Ca(2+)-activated protein for secretion-1 (CAPS1), one of only a few proteins known to be associated exclusively with LDCV exocytosis. Ectopic expression of RRP17 in cardiomyocytes enhances secretion of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), a regulator of blood pressure and natriuresis. Conversely, genetic deletion of RRP17 in mice results in dysmorphic LDCVs, impaired ANP secretion, and hypertension. These findings identify RRP17 as a component of the cellular machinery involved in regulated secretion within the heart and potential mediator of the endocrine influence of the heart on other tissues.
The Journal of Cell Biology 12/2007; 179(3):527-37. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In skeletal muscle, environmental demands activate signal transduction pathways that ultimately promote adaptive changes in myofiber cytoarchitecture and protein composition. Recent advances in determining the factors involved in these signal transduction pathways provide insight into possible therapeutic methods to remodel skeletal muscle.
Advances in genetic engineering have allowed the introduction or depletion of factors within the myofiber, facilitating the evaluation of signaling factors during muscle remodeling. Using transgenic mouse models, activation of specific signaling pathways promoted type I oxidative myofibers, increased the fatigue resistance of muscle, increased skeletal muscle mass and ameliorated muscle injury in myopathic mouse models. Moreover, new technologies are being used to generate global gene and protein expression profiles to identify new factors involved in skeletal muscle remodeling. Finally, small RNAs, microRNAs, are emerging as powerful regulators of gene expression in most tissues, including skeletal muscle. Recent findings predict that targeted delivery of miRNAs will specifically manipulate genes and if used therapeutically will revolutionize clinical medicine.
Developing drugs to target signaling pathways associated with remodeling myofibers provides a possible therapeutic approach to combat skeletal muscle disease. In addition, genome-wide technologies can identify new biomarkers capable of diagnosing myopathies and determine a patient's response to therapy. Furthermore, therapeutic strategies are being designed to target microRNAs in anticipation of blocking gene repression correlated with muscle pathology.
Current Opinion in Rheumatology 12/2007; 19(6):542-9. · 5.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work has identified alterations in histone acetylation in animal models of drug addiction and depression. However, the mechanisms which integrate drugs and stress with changes in chromatin structure remain unclear. Here, we identify the activity-dependent class II histone deacetylase, HDAC5, as a central integrator of these stimuli with changes in chromatin structure and gene expression. Chronic, but not acute, exposure to cocaine or stress decreases HDAC5 function in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a major brain reward region, which allows for increased histone acetylation and transcription of HDAC5 target genes. This regulation is behaviorally important, as loss of HDAC5 causes hypersensitive responses to chronic, not acute, cocaine or stress. These findings suggest that proper balance of histone acetylation is a crucial factor in the saliency of a given stimulus and that disruption of this balance is involved in the transition from an acute adaptive response to a chronic psychiatric illness.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle is composed of heterogeneous myofibers with distinctive rates of contraction, metabolic properties, and susceptibility to fatigue. We show that class II histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins, which function as transcriptional repressors of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factor, fail to accumulate in the soleus, a slow muscle, compared with fast muscles (e.g., white vastus lateralis). Accordingly, pharmacological blockade of proteasome function specifically increases expression of class II HDAC proteins in the soleus in vivo. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches in mice, we discovered that class II HDAC proteins suppress the formation of slow twitch, oxidative myofibers through the repression of MEF2 activity. Conversely, expression of a hyperactive form of MEF2 in skeletal muscle of transgenic mice promotes the formation of slow fibers and enhances running endurance, enabling mice to run almost twice the distance of WT littermates. Thus, the selective degradation of class II HDACs in slow skeletal muscle provides a mechanism for enhancing physical performance and resistance to fatigue by augmenting the transcriptional activity of MEF2. These findings provide what we believe are new insights into the molecular basis of skeletal muscle function and have important implications for possible therapeutic interventions into muscular diseases.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/2007; 117(9):2459-67. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance of skeletal and cardiac muscle structure and function requires precise control of the synthesis, assembly, and turnover of contractile proteins of the sarcomere. Abnormalities in accumulation of sarcomere proteins are responsible for a variety of myopathies. However, the mechanisms that mediate turnover of these long-lived proteins remain poorly defined. We show that muscle RING finger 1 (MuRF1) and MuRF3 act as E3 ubiquitin ligases that cooperate with the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes UbcH5a, -b, and -c to mediate the degradation of beta/slow myosin heavy chain (beta/slow MHC) and MHCIIa via the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) in vivo and in vitro. Accordingly, mice deficient for MuRF1 and MuRF3 develop a skeletal muscle myopathy and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy characterized by subsarcolemmal MHC accumulation, myofiber fragmentation, and diminished muscle performance. These findings identify MuRF1 and MuRF3 as key E3 ubiquitin ligases for the UPS-dependent turnover of sarcomeric proteins and reveal a potential basis for myosin storage myopathies.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/2007; 117(9):2486-95. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcineurin signaling is essential for successful muscle regeneration. Although calcineurin inhibition compromises muscle repair, it is not known whether calcineurin activation can enhance muscle repair after injury. Tibialis anterior (TA) muscles from adult wild-type (WT) and transgenic mice overexpressing the constitutively active calcineurin-A alpha transgene under the control of the mitochondrial creatine kinase promoter (MCK-CnA alpha*) were injected with the myotoxic snake venom Notexin to destroy all muscle fibers. The TA muscle of the contralateral limb served as the uninjured control. Muscle structure was assessed at 5 and 9 days postinjury, and muscle function was tested in situ at 9 days postinjury. Calcineurin stimulation enhanced muscle regeneration and altered levels of myoregulatory factors (MRFs). Recovery of myofiber size and force-producing capacity was hastened in injured muscles of MCK-CnA alpha* mice compared with control. Myogenin levels were greater 5 days postinjury and myocyte enhancer factor 2a (MEF2a) expression was greater 9 days postinjury in muscles of MCK-CnA alpha* mice compared with WT mice. Higher MEF2a expression in regenerating muscles of MCK-CnA alpha* mice 9 days postinjury may be related to an increase of slow fiber genes. Calcineurin activation in uninjured and injured TA muscles slowed muscle contractile properties, reduced fatigability, and enhanced force recovery after 4 min of intermittent maximal stimulation. Therefore, calcineurin activation can confer structural and functional benefits to regenerating skeletal muscles, which may be mediated in part by differential expression of MRFs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytoskeletal proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy, but how the cytoskeleton influences the transcriptional alterations associated with adverse cardiac remodeling remains unclear. Striated muscle activator of Rho signaling (STARS) is a muscle-specific actin-binding protein localized to the Z disc that activates serum response factor-dependent (SRF-dependent) transcription by inducing nuclear translocation of the myocardin-related SRF coactivators MRTF-A and -B. We show that STARS expression is upregulated in mouse models of cardiac hypertrophy and in failing human hearts. A conserved region of the STARS promoter containing an essential binding site for myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2), a stress-responsive transcriptional activator, mediates cardiac expression of STARS, which in turn activates SRF target genes. Forced overexpression of STARS in the heart sensitizes the heart to pressure overload and calcineurin signaling, resulting in exaggerated deterioration in cardiac function in response to these hypertrophic stimuli. These findings suggest that STARS modulates the responsiveness of the heart to stress signaling by functioning as a cytoskeletal intermediary between MEF2 and SRF.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 06/2007; 117(5):1324-34. · 12.81 Impact Factor