Increased sympathetic activity is a central feature in patients with heart failure. Stimulation of ? adrenergic receptor (?-AR), specifically ?1-AR, increases cardiac myocyte apoptosis in vitro and in vivo, while stimulation of ?2-AR plays an anti-apoptotic role in ?-AR-stimulated apoptosis. We have shown that ?-AR-stimulated apoptosis is mediated via the activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3? (GSK-3?) and JNK-dependent mitochondrial death pathway in adult rat ventricular myocytes (ARVMs). ?-AR stimulation induces apoptosis only in a fraction of ARVMs (~15-20%) in vitro. We hypothesized that ARVMs may secrete/release a survival factor/s which protects 80-85% of cells from apoptosis. Using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by MALDI TOF and MS/MS, we identified ubiquitin in the conditioned media of ARVMs treated with ?-AR agonist, isoproterenol. Western blot analysis confirmed increased levels of ubiquitin in the conditioned media, and in the serum of mice following ?-AR stimulation. Other preliminary data suggest that extracellular ubiquitin interacts with ARVMs. Pretreatment of ARVMs with purified ubiquitin inhibited ?-AR-stimulated activation of GSK-3? and JNKs, and increases in the levels of cytosolic cytochrome C and apoptosis. Inhibition of PI3-kinase reversed the anti-apoptotic effects of extracellular ubiquitin. Anti-apoptotic effects of extracellular ubiquitin are exerted via monoubiquitination. Infusion of mice with exogenous ubiquitin inhibited ?AR-stimulated left ventricular dysfunction, cardiac myocyte apoptosis and myocardial fibrosis in mice. These observations have led to our novel hypothesis that extracellular ubiquitin plays a protective role in ?-AR-stimulated apoptosis via the activation of PI3-kinase/Akt pathway and inactivation of GSK-3?, JNKs and mitochondrial death pathway. To test this hypothesis, we will use in vitro and in vivo strategies and biochemical and proteomic approaches.
Aim 1 will determine the specificity of extracellular ubiquitin in ?-AR-stimulated apoptosis using neutralizing antibodies against ubiquitin, and other apoptotic agents (angiotensin II, oxidative stress and Tumor necrosis factor-1), and test the hypothesis that secretion of ubiquitin occurs via ?2-AR-dependent signaling pathway.
Aim 2 will use biochemical and proteomic approaches, and test the hypothesis that extracellular ubiquitin interacts with cellular proteins and activates PI3-kinase/Akt pathway leading to inactivation of GSK-3?, JNKs and mitochondrial death pathway, and thereby playing a protective role in ?-AR-stimulated apoptosis.
Aim 3 will investigate the in vivo role of exogenous ubiquitin in ?-AR stimulated myocardial remodeling. Proposed studies investigating the role of extracellular ubiquitin in cardiac myocyte apoptosis and myocardial remodeling may uncover novel strategies for the treatment of heart failure.
Using proteomic and biochemical strategies, we have identified increased levels of ubiquitin in the conditioned media of adult cardiac myocytes following ?-AR stimulation, a stimulus which induces cardiac myocyte apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Preliminary data suggest that extracellular ubiquitin interacts with cellular proteins and plays a protective role in ?AR-stimulated cardiac myocyte apoptosis. The proposed studies investigating the role of extracellular ubiquitin in cardiac myocyte apoptosis and myocardial remodeling are novel, and may uncover therapeutic potential for extracellular ubiquitin in the treatment of heart failure.
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