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Background-: L-type calcium channel activity is critical to afterload-induced hypertrophic growth of the heart. However, the mechanisms governing mechanical stress-induced activation of L-type calcium channel activity are obscure. Polycystin-1 (PC-1) is a G protein-coupled receptor-like protein that functions as a mechanosensor in a variety of cell types and is present in cardiomyocytes.

Methods and Results-: We subjected neonatal rat ventricular myocytes to mechanical stretch by exposing them to hypo-osmotic medium or cyclic mechanical stretch, triggering cell growth in a manner dependent on L-type calcium channel activity. RNAi-dependent knockdown of PC-1 blocked this hypertrophy. Overexpression of a C-terminal fragment of PC-1 was sufficient to trigger neonatal rat ventricular myocyte hypertrophy. Exposing neonatal rat ventricular myocytes to hypo-osmotic medium resulted in an increase in [alpha]1C protein levels, a response that was prevented by PC-1 knockdown. MG132, a proteasomal inhibitor, rescued PC-1 knockdown-dependent declines in [alpha]1C protein. To test this in vivo, we engineered mice harboring conditional silencing of PC-1 selectively in cardiomyocytes (PC-1 knockout) and subjected them to mechanical stress in vivo (transverse aortic constriction). At baseline, PC-1 knockout mice manifested decreased cardiac function relative to littermate controls, and [alpha]1C L-type calcium channel protein levels were significantly lower in PC-1 knockout hearts. Whereas control mice manifested robust transverse aortic constriction-induced increases in cardiac mass, PC-1 knockout mice showed no significant growth. Likewise, transverse aortic constriction-elicited increases in hypertrophic markers and interstitial fibrosis were blunted in the knockout animals

Conclusion-: PC-1 is a cardiomyocyte mechanosensor that is required for cardiac hypertrophy through a mechanism that involves stabilization of [alpha]1C protein.

(C) 2015 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association, Inc.