Pathological cardiac remodeling, including myocyte hypertrophy and apoptosis and myocardial interstitial fibrosis, constitutes a common pathway to heart failure in disease. Despite current pharmacologic therapy and other advances that attenuate remodeling, mortality due to heart failure remains high. New, more effective therapeutic options are desperately needed in an increasing patient population to improve both the survival and quality of life for patients with or susceptible to heart failure. We recently discovered that the protein kinase p90 ribosomal S6 kinase type 3 (RSK3) plays a critical role in the regulation of pathological cardiac remodeling. In 2013, Anchored RSK3 Inhibitors, LLC, was founded by Dr. Michael Kapiloff to develop novel therapeutics based upon RSK3 inhibition that will prevent and/or treat heart failure. RSK3 was required for pathological remodeling even though RSK3 is less abundant in the cardiac myocyte than other members of the RSK protein kinase family. We found that in myocytes RSK3's unique N- terminal domain conferred high affinity, regulated binding to the scaffold protein muscle A-kinase anchoring protein (mAKAP). This novel protein-protein interaction explained the selective binding of that kinase isoform to the scaffold. New preliminary data show that expression both in vitro and in vivo of an anchoring disruptor peptide that blocks mAKAP-RSK3 binding will attenuate pathological remodeling, preventing the development of heart failure in response to pressure overload. The goal of this STTR application is to support the development of a new adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy vector that expresses the RSK3 anchoring disruptor peptide. The proposed research will provide proof-of-concept for a new therapeutic approach for the treatment and/or prevention of heart failure based upon RSK3 displacement within the myocyte.
SPECIFIC AIM 1 : Treatment of Pressure Overload-induced Heart Failure by Anchoring Disruptor Therapy. Cardiac myocyte-selective expression of a mAKAP RSK3-binding peptide (RBD) using AAV prevents transverse aortic constriction-induced heart failure in vivo. In this Aim we will test whether RSK3 anchoring disruptor therapy can induce reverse remodeling and treat heart failure in mice with established pathology due to pressure overload.
SPECIFIC AIM 2 : Prevention of Myocardial Infarction-induced Heart Failure by Anchoring Disruptor Therapy. In this Aim, we will test whether AAV-RBD can block remodeling following myocardial infarction without having deleterious effects on infarct size or scar formation. Results obtained through this phase I STTR grant will provide insight into how broadly AAV-RBD therapy may be applied in cardiovascular disease and inform the choice of subsequent large animal studies necessary to progress to a FDA Investigational New Drug Application.

Public Health Relevance

Heart failure is a syndrome of major public heath significance that is the cause of death for about 1 in 9 Americans, accountable for nearly 300,000 deaths each year. Despite a range of existing therapies, the mortality rate for patients with heart failur remains very high with about 50% of patients dying within 5 years of a diagnosis. In this application, we aim to develop a new therapy for heart failure based upon the selective targeting of RSK3.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase I (R41)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Sopko, George
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Anchored RSK3 Inhibitors, LLC
Miami Beach
United States
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