PloS one

Gene Expression Analyses during Spontaneous Reversal of Cardiomyopathy in Mice with Repressed Nuclear CUG-BP, Elav-Like Family (CELF) Activity in Heart Muscle.

PMID 25894229


CUG-BP, Elav-like family (CELF) proteins regulate cell type- and developmental stage-specific alternative splicing in the heart. Repression of CELF-mediated splicing activity via expression of a nuclear dominant negative CELF protein in heart muscle was previously shown to induce dysregulation of alternative splicing, cardiac dysfunction, cardiac hypertrophy, and dilated cardiomyopathy in MHC-CELFΔ transgenic mice. A "mild" line of MHC-CELFΔ mice that expresses a lower level of the dominant negative protein exhibits cardiac dysfunction and myopathy at a young age, but spontaneously recovers normal cardiac function and heart size with age despite the persistence of splicing defects. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first example of a genetically induced cardiomyopathy that spontaneously recovers without intervention. In this study, we explored the basis for this recovery. We examined whether a transcriptional program regulated by serum response factor (SRF) that is dysregulated in juvenile MHC-CELFΔ mice is restored in the mild line with age, and evaluated global changes in gene expression by microarray analyses. We found that differences in gene expression between the mild line and wild type hearts are greatly reduced in older animals, including a partial recovery of SRF target gene expression. We did not find evidence of a new compensatory pathway being activated in the mild line with age, and propose that recovery may occur due to developmental stage-specific compatibility of CELF-dependent splice variants with the cellular environment of the cardiomyocyte.