Background: We recently showed that progesterone treatment abolished arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in a transgenic rabbit model of long QT syndrome type 2 (LQT2). Moreover, levels of cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2)(+) -ATPase2a (SERCA2a) were upregulated in LQT2 heart extracts. We hypothesized that progesterone treatment upregulated SERCA2a expression, thereby reducing Ca(2+)-dependent arrhythmias in LQT2 rabbits. We therefore investigated the effect of progesterone on SERCA2a regulation in isolated cardiomyocytes. Materials & methods: Cardiomyocytes from neonate rabbits (3-5 days old) were isolated, cultured, and treated with progesterone and other pharmacological agents. Immunoblotting was performed on total cell lysates and SR-enriched membrane fractions for protein abundance, and mRNA transcripts were quantified using real-time PCR. The effect of progesterone on baseline Ca(2+) transients and Ca(2+) clearance was determined using digital imaging. Results: Progesterone treatment increased the total pool of SERCA2a protein by slowing its degradation. Using various pharmacological inhibitors of degradation pathways, we showed that progesterone-associated degradation of SERCA2a involves ubiquitination, and progesterone significantly decreases the levels of ubiquitin-tagged SERCA2a polypeptides. Our digital imaging data revealed that progesterone significantly shortened the decay and duration of Ca(2+) transients. Conclusion: Progesterone treatment increases protein levels and activity of SERCA2a. Progesterone stabilizes SERCA2a, in part, by decreasing the ubiquitination level of SERCA2a polypeptides.
Loss-of-function mutations in human ether go-go (HERG) potassium channels underlie long QT syndrome type 2 (LQT2) and are associated with fatal ventricular tachyarrhythmia. Previously, most studies focused on plasma membrane-related pathways involved in arrhythmogenesis in long QT syndrome, whereas proarrhythmic changes in intracellular Ca(2+) handling remained unexplored.
Abstract? Ageing is associated with a blunted response to sympathetic stimulation and an increased risk of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. Aberrant calcium (Ca(2+)) handling is an important contributor to the electrical and contractile dysfunction associated with ageing. Yet, the specific molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal Ca(2+) handling in ageing heart remain poorly understood. In this study, we used ventricular myocytes isolated from young (5-9 months) and old (4-6 years) rabbit hearts to test the hypothesis that changes in Ca(2+) homeostasis are caused by post-translational modification of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) by mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in the ageing heart. Changes in parameters of Ca(2+) handling were determined by measuring cytosolic and intra-sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) dynamics in intact and permeabilized ventricular myocytes using confocal microscopy. We also measured age-related changes in ROS production and mitochondria membrane potential using a ROS-sensitive dye and a mitochondrial voltage-sensitive fluorescent indicator, respectively. In permeablized myocytes, ageing did not change SERCA activity and spark frequency but decreased spark amplitude and SR Ca(2+) load suggesting increased RyR activity. Treatment with the antioxidant dithiothreitol reduced RyR-mediated SR Ca(2+) leak in permeabilized myocytes from old rabbit hearts to the level comparable to young. Moreover, myocytes from old rabbits had more depolarized mitochondria membrane potential and increased rate of ROS production. Under ?-adrenergic stimulation, Ca(2+) transient amplitude, SR Ca(2+) load, and latency of pro-arrhythmic spontaneous Ca(2+) waves (SCWs) were decreased while RyR-mediated SR Ca(2+) leak was increased in cardiomyocytes from old rabbits. Additionally, with ?-adrenergic stimulation, scavenging of mitochondrial ROS in myocytes from old rabbit hearts restored redox status of RyRs, which reduced SR Ca(2+) leak, ablated most SCWs, and increased latency to levels comparable to young. These data indicate that an age-associated increase of ROS production by mitochondria leads to the thiol-oxidation of RyRs, which underlies the hyperactivity of RyRs and thereby shortened refractoriness of Ca(2+) release in cardiomyocytes from the ageing heart. This mechanism probably plays an important role in the increased incidence of arrhythmia and sudden death in the ageing population.
Short- and medium-chain acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA) synthetases catalyze the formation of acyl-CoA from an acyl substrate, ATP, and CoA. These enzymes catalyze mechanistically similar two-step reactions that proceed through an enzyme-bound acyl-AMP intermediate. Here we describe the characterization of a member of this enzyme family from the methane-producing archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans. This enzyme, a medium-chain acyl-CoA synthetase designated Macs(Ma), utilizes 2-methylbutyrate as its preferred substrate for acyl-CoA synthesis but cannot utilize acetate and thus cannot catalyze the first step of acetoclastic methanogenesis in M. acetivorans. When propionate or other less favorable acyl substrates, such as butyrate, 2-methylpropionate, or 2-methylvalerate, were utilized, the acyl-CoA was not produced or was produced at reduced levels. Instead, acyl-AMP and PP(i) were released in the absence of CoA, whereas in the presence of CoA, the intermediate was broken down into AMP and the acyl substrate, which were released along with PP(i). These results suggest that although acyl-CoA synthetases may have the ability to utilize a broad range of substrates for the acyl-adenylate-forming first step of the reaction, the intermediate may not be suitable for the thioester-forming second step. The Macs(Ma) structure has revealed the putative acyl substrate- and CoA-binding pockets. Six residues proposed to form the acyl substrate-binding pocket, Lys(256), Cys(298), Gly(351), Trp(259), Trp(237), and Trp(254), were targeted for alteration. Characterization of the enzyme variants indicates that these six residues are critical in acyl substrate binding and catalysis, and even conservative alterations significantly reduced the catalytic ability of the enzyme.
The acyl-AMP forming family of adenylating enzymes catalyze two-step reactions to activate a carboxylate with the chemical energy derived from ATP hydrolysis. X-ray crystal structures have been determined for multiple members of this family and, together with biochemical studies, provide insights into the active site and catalytic mechanisms used by these enzymes. These studies have shown that the enzymes use a domain rotation of 140 degrees to reconfigure a single active site to catalyze the two partial reactions. We present here the crystal structure of a new medium chain acyl-CoA synthetase from Methanosarcina acetivorans. The binding pocket for the three substrates is analyzed, with many conserved residues present in the AMP binding pocket. The CoA binding pocket is compared to the pockets of both acetyl-CoA synthetase and 4-chlorobenzoate:CoA ligase. Most interestingly, the acyl-binding pocket of the new structure is compared with other acyl- and aryl-CoA synthetases. A comparison of the acyl-binding pocket of the acyl-CoA synthetase from M. acetivorans with other structures identifies a shallow pocket that is used to bind the medium chain carboxylates. These insights emphasize the high sequence and structural diversity among this family in the area of the acyl-binding pocket.
Aging increases the risk for arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD). We aimed at elucidating aging-related electrical, functional, and structural changes in the heart and vasculature that account for this heightened arrhythmogenic risk. Young (5-9 mo) and old (3.5-6 yr) female New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits were subjected to in vivo hemodynamic, electrophysiological, and echocardiographic studies as well as ex vivo optical mapping, high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and histochemical experiments. Aging increased aortic stiffness (baseline pulse wave velocity: young, 3.54 ± 0.36 vs. old, 4.35 ± 0.28 m/s, P < 0.002) and diastolic (end diastolic pressure-volume relations: 3.28 ± 0.5 vs. 4.95 ± 1.5 mmHg/ml, P < 0.05) and systolic (end systolic pressure-volume relations: 20.56 ± 4.2 vs. 33.14 ± 8.4 mmHg/ml, P < 0.01) myocardial elastances in old rabbits. Electrophysiological and optical mapping studies revealed age-related slowing of ventricular and His-Purkinje conduction (His-to-ventricle interval: 23 ± 2.5 vs. 31.9 ± 2.9 ms, P < 0.0001), altered conduction anisotropy, and a greater inducibility of ventricular fibrillation (VF, 3/12 vs. 7/9, P < 0.05) in old rabbits. Histochemical studies confirmed an aging-related increased fibrosis in the ventricles. MRI showed a deterioration of the free-running Purkinje fiber network in ventricular and septal walls in old hearts as well as aging-related alterations of the myofibrillar orientation and myocardial sheet structure that may account for this slowed conduction velocity. Aging leads to parallel stiffening of the aorta and the heart, including an increase in systolic stiffness and contractility and diastolic stiffness. Increasingly, anisotropic conduction velocity due to fibrosis and altered myofibrillar orientation and myocardial sheet structure may contribute to the pathogenesis of VF in old hearts. The aging rabbit model represents a useful tool for elucidating age-related changes that predispose the aging heart to arrhythmias and SCD.
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