Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)

p53 and Mdm2 act synergistically to maintain cardiac homeostasis and mediate cardiomyocyte cell cycle arrest through a network of microRNAs.

PMID 28745540


Defining the roadblocks responsible for cell cycle arrest in adult cardiomyocytes lies at the core of developing cardiac regenerative therapies. p53 and Mdm2 are crucial mediators of cell cycle arrest in proliferative cell types, however, little is known about their function in regulating homeostasis and proliferation in terminally differentiated cell types, like cardiomyocytes. To explore this, we generated a cardiac-specific conditional deletion of p53 and Mdm2 (DKO) in adult mice. Herein we describe the development of a dilated cardiomyopathy, in the absence of cardiac hypertrophy. In addition, DKO hearts exhibited a significant increase in cardiomyocyte proliferation. Further evaluation showed that proliferation was mediated by a significant increase in Cdk2 and cyclin E with downregulation of p21Cip1 and p27Kip1. Comparison of miRNA expression profiles from DKO mouse hearts and controls revealed 11 miRNAs that were downregulated in the DKO hearts and enriched for mRNA targets involved in cell cycle regulation. Knockdown of these miRNAs in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes significantly increased cytokinesis with an upregulation in the expression of crucial cell cycle regulators. These results illustrate the importance of the cooperative activities of p53 and Mdm2 in a network of miRNAs that function to impose a barrier against aberrant cardiomyocyte cell cycle re-entry to maintain cardiac homeostasis.