The Journal of pathology

The alteration of protein prenylation induces cardiomyocyte hypertrophy through Rheb-mTORC1 signalling and leads to chronic heart failure.

PMID 25385233


G protein-regulated cell function is crucial for cardiomyocytes, and any deregulation of its gene expression or protein modification can lead to pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Herein, we report that protein prenylation, a lipidic modification of G proteins that facilitates their association with the cell membrane, might control the process of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. We found that geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (GGPPS), a key enzyme involved in protein prenylation, played a critical role in postnatal heart growth by regulating cardiomyocyte size. Cardiac-specific knockout of GGPPS in mice led to spontaneous cardiac hypertrophy, beginning from week 4, accompanied by the persistent enlargement of cardiomyocytes. This hypertrophic effect occurred by altered prenylation of G proteins. Evaluation of the prenylation, membrane association and hydrophobicity showed that Rheb was hyperactivated and increased mTORC1 signalling pathway after GGPPS deletion. Protein farnesylation or mTORC1 inhibition blocked GGPPS knockdown-induced mTORC1 activation and suppressed the larger neonatal rat ventricle myocyte size and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in vivo, demonstrating a central role of the FPP-Rheb-mTORC1 axis for GGPPS deficiency-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. The sustained cardiomyocyte hypertrophy progressively provoked cardiac decompensation and dysfunction, ultimately causing heart failure and adult death. Importantly, GGPPS was down-regulated in the hypertrophic hearts of mice subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) and in failing human hearts. Moreover, HPLC-MS/MS detection revealed that the myocardial farnesyl diphosphate (FPP):geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) ratio was enhanced after pressure overload. Our observations conclude that the alteration of protein prenylation promotes cardiomyocyte hypertrophic growth, which acts as a potential cause for pathogenesis of heart failure and may provide a new molecular target for hypertrophic heart disease clinical therapy.

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