Scientific reports

The E3 ligase Mule protects the heart against oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction through Myc-dependent inactivation of Pgc-1α and Pink1.

PMID 28148912


Cardiac homeostasis requires proper control of protein turnover. Protein degradation is principally controlled by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System. Mule is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that regulates cellular growth, DNA repair and apoptosis to maintain normal tissue architecture. However, Mule's function in the heart has yet to be described. In a screen, we found reduced Mule expression in left ventricular samples from end-stage heart failure patients. Consequently, we generated conditional cardiac-specific Mule knockout (Mule (fl/fl(y));mcm) mice. Mule ablation in adult Mule (fl/fl(y));mcm mice prevented myocardial c-Myc polyubiquitination, leading to c-Myc accumulation and subsequent reduced expression of Pgc-1α, Pink1, and mitochondrial complex proteins. Furthermore, these mice developed spontaneous cardiac hypertrophy, left ventricular dysfunction, and early mortality. Co-deletion of Mule and c-Myc rescued this phenotype. Our data supports an indispensable role for Mule in cardiac homeostasis through the regulation of mitochondrial function via maintenance of Pgc-1α and Pink1 expression and persistent negative regulation of c-Myc.