Mechanism of molecular regulation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial gene expression by electrical stimulation in the cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes

Yang Xia, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


To answer the question whether increased energy demand resulting from myocyte hypertrophy and enhanced $\beta$-myosin heavy chain mRNA, contractile protein synthesis and assembly leads to mitochondrial proliferation and differentiation, we set up an electrical stimulation model of cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. We describe, as a result of increased contractile activity, increased mitochondrial profiles, cytochrome oxidase mRNA, and activity, as well as a switch in mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase-I (CPT-I) from the liver to muscle isoform. We investigate physiological pathways that lead to accumulation of gene transcripts for nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins in the heart. Cardiomyocytes were stimulated for varying times up to 72 hr in serum-free culture. The mRNA contents for genes associated with transcriptional activation (c-fos, c-jun, junB, nuclear respiratory factor 1 (Nrf-1)), mitochondrial proliferation (cytochrome c (Cyt c), cytochrome oxidase), and mitochondrial differentiation (carnitine palmitonyltransferase I (CPT-I) isoforms) were measured. The results establish a temporal pattern of mRNA induction beginning with c-fos (0.25-3 hr) and followed by c-jun (0.5-3 hr), junB (0.5-6 hr), NRF-1 (1-12 hr), Cyt c (12-72 hr), cytochrome c oxidase (12-72 hr). Induction of the latter was accompanied by a marked decrease in the liver-specific CPT-I mRNA. Electrical stimulation increased c-fos, $\beta$-myosin heavy chain, and Cyt c promoter activities. These increases coincided with a rise in their respective endogenous gene transcripts. NRF-1, cAMP response element (CRE), and Sp-1 site mutations within the Cyt c promoter reduced luciferase expression in both stimulated and nonstimulated myocytes. Mutations in the Nrf-1 and CRE sites inhibited the induction by electrical stimulation or by transfection of c-jun into non-paced cardiac myocytes whereas mutation of the Sp-1 site maintained or increased the fold induction. This is consistent with the appearance of NRF-1 and fos/jun mRNAs prior to that of Cyt c. Overexpression of c-jun by transfection also activates the Nrf-1 and Cyt c mRNA sequentially. Electrical stimulation of cardiac myocytes activates the c-Jun-N-terminal kinase so that the fold-activation of the cyt c promoter is increased by pacing when either c-jun or c-fos/c-jun are cotransfected. We have identified physical association of Nrf-1 protein with the Nrf-1 enhancer element and of c-Jun with the CRE binding sites on the Cyt c promoter. This is the first demonstration that induction of Nrf-1 and c-Jun by pacing of cardiac myocytes directly mediates Cyt c gene expression and mitochondrial proliferation in response to hypertrophic stimuli in the heart. Subsequent to gene activation pathways that lead to mitochondrial proliferation, we observed an isoform switch in CPT-I from the liver to muscle mRNA. We have found that the half-life for the muscle CPT-I is not affected by electrical stimulation, but electrical decrease the T1/2 in the liver CPT-I by greater than 50%. This suggests that the liver CPT-I switch to muscle isoform is due to (1) a decrease in T1/2 of liver CPT-I and (2) activation of muscle CPT-Itranscripts by electrical stimulation. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Pathology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Xia, Yang, "Mechanism of molecular regulation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial gene expression by electrical stimulation in the cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9909445.