[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Voltage-gated sodium channels initiate action potentials in excitable tissues. Mice in which Scn5A (the predominant sodium channel gene in heart) has been knocked out die early in development with cardiac malformations by mechanisms which have yet to be determined.
Here we addressed this question by investigating the role of cardiac sodium channels in zebrafish heart development.
Transcripts of the functionally-conserved Scn5a homologs scn5Laa and scn5Lab were detected in the gastrulating zebrafish embryo and subsequently in the embryonic myocardium. Antisense knockdown of either channel resulted in marked cardiac chamber dysmorphogenesis and perturbed looping. These abnormalities were associated with decreased expression of the myocardial precursor genes nkx2.5, gata4, and hand2 in anterior lateral mesoderm and significant deficits in the production of cardiomyocyte progenitors. These early defects did not appear to result from altered membrane electrophysiology, as prolonged pharmacological blockade of sodium current failed to phenocopy channel knockdown. Moreover, embryos grown in calcium channel blocker-containing medium had hearts that did not beat but developed normally.
These findings identify a novel and possibly nonelectrogenic role for cardiac sodium channels in heart development.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We and others have reported mutations in the cardiac predominant sodium channel gene SCN5A in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). We also have reported that SCN1B is associated with Brugada syndrome and isolated cardiac conduction disease. We tested the hypothesis that mutations in the 4 sodium channel beta-subunit genes SCN1B-SCN4B contribute to AF susceptibility.
Screening for mutations in the 4 beta-subunit genes was performed in 480 patients with AF (118 patients with lone AF and 362 patients with AF and cardiovascular disease) and 548 control subjects (188 ethnically defined anonymized subjects and 360 subjects without AF). The effects of mutant beta-subunits on SCN5A mediated currents were studied using electrophysiological studies. We identified 2 nonsynonymous variants in SCN1B (resulting in R85H, D153N) and 2 in SCN2B (R28Q, R28W) in patients with AF. These occur at residues highly conserved across mammals and were absent in control subjects. In 3 of 4 mutation carriers, the ECGs showed saddleback-type ST-segment elevation in the right precordial leads. Transcripts encoding both SCN1B and SCN2B were detected in human atrium and ventricle. In heterologous expression studies using Chinese hamster ovary cells, the mutant beta1- or beta2-subunits reduced SCN5A-mediated current and altered channel gating compared with coexpression of wild-type subunits.
Loss of function mutations in sodium channel beta-subunits were identified in patients with AF and were associated with a distinctive ECG phenotype. These findings further support the hypothesis that decreased sodium current enhances AF susceptibility.
Preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Circulation Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Embryonic organs attain their final dimensions through the generation of proper cell number and size, but the control mechanisms remain obscure. Here, we establish Gridlock (Grl), a Hairy-related basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, as a negative regulator of cardiomyocyte proliferative growth in zebrafish embryos. Mutations in grl cause an increase in expression of a group of immediate-early growth genes, myocardial genes, and development of hyperplastic hearts. Conversely, cardiomyocytes with augmented Grl activity have diminished cell volume and fail to divide, resulting in a marked reduction in heart size. Both bHLH domain and carboxyl region are required for Grl negative control of myocardial proliferative growth. These Grl-induced cardiac effects are counterbalanced by the transcriptional activator Gata5 but not Gata4, which promotes cardiomyocyte expansion in the embryo. Biochemical analyses show that Grl forms a complex with Gata5 through the carboxyl region and can repress Gata5-mediated transcription via the bHLH domain. Hence, our studies suggest that Grl regulates embryonic heart growth via opposing Gata5, at least in part through their protein interactions in modulating gene expression.
Preview · Article · Sep 2007 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Action potential generation in excitable cells such as myocytes and neurons critically depends on voltage-gated sodium channels. In mammals, sodium channels exist as macromolecular complexes that include a pore-forming alpha subunit and 1 or more modulatory beta subunits. Although alpha subunit genes have been cloned from diverse metazoans including flies, jellyfish, and humans, beta subunits have not previously been identified in any non-mammalian species. To gain further insight into the evolution of electrical signaling in vertebrates, we investigated beta subunit genes in the teleost Danio rerio (zebrafish).
We identified and cloned single zebrafish gene homologs for beta1-beta3 (zbeta1-zbeta3) and duplicate genes for beta4 (zbeta4.1, zbeta4.2). Sodium channel beta subunit loci are similarly organized in fish and mammalian genomes. Unlike their mammalian counterparts, zbeta1 and zbeta2 subunit genes display extensive alternative splicing. Zebrafish beta subunit genes and their splice variants are differentially-expressed in excitable tissues, indicating tissue-specific regulation of zbeta1-4 expression and splicing. Co-expression of the genes encoding zbeta1 and the zebrafish sodium channel alpha subunit Nav1.5 in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells increased sodium current and altered channel gating, demonstrating functional interactions between zebrafish alpha and beta subunits. Analysis of the synteny and phylogeny of mammalian, teleost, amphibian, and avian beta subunit and related genes indicated that all extant vertebrate beta subunits are orthologous, that beta2/beta4 and beta1/beta3 share common ancestry, and that beta subunits are closely related to other proteins sharing the V-type immunoglobulin domain structure. Vertebrate sodium channel beta subunit genes were not identified in the genomes of invertebrate chordates and are unrelated to known subunits of the para sodium channel in Drosophila.
The identification of conserved orthologs to all 4 voltage-gated sodium channel beta subunit genes in zebrafish and the lack of evidence for beta subunit genes in invertebrate chordates together indicate that this gene family emerged early in vertebrate evolution, prior to the divergence of teleosts and tetrapods. The evolutionary history of sodium channel beta subunits suggests that these genes may have played a key role in the diversification and specialization of electrical signaling in early vertebrates.
Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · BMC Evolutionary Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Left ventricular hypertrophy is a known risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). However, it is not well understood whether other electrocardiogram abnormalities are associated with development of AF.
This was a community-based cohort study based upon a database of annual health examinations. We included 63,386 subjects aged > or = 50 years, without baseline AF (including atrial flutter), structural heart disease, or heart failure, who completed the annual examination during a 10-year follow-up period (1991-2002). The electrocardiographic risk factors for AF were studied in the subjects.
Atrial fibrillation developed in 873 subjects. Age, male sex, body mass index, hypertension, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and diabetes were significant risk factors for the development of AF. In multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusted for these risk factors, electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (odds ratio [OR], 1.43), ST-segment abnormality without left ventricular hypertrophy (OR, 1.89), and the presence of premature complexes during a 10-second recording (OR, 2.89) were significantly associated with AF, whereas either right (OR, 0.84) or left bundle branch block (OR, 0.96) was unrelated. The risk for AF increased progressively with the severity of both ST-segment change and premature complexes.
ST-segment abnormality and comparably high-frequency premature complexes were each associated with increased risk for the development of AF. These electrocardiographic findings may be useful to stratify high-risk subjects for new-onset AF.
No preview · Article · Nov 2006 · American heart journal