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The valosin-containing protein protects the heart against pathological Ca2+ overload by modulating Ca2+ uptake proteins.

Toxicol Sci. 2019 Jul 31;:

Authors: Stoll S, Xi J, Ma B, Leimena C, Behringer EJ, Qin G, Qiu H

Stress-induced mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) overload is a key cellular toxic effectors and a trigger of cardiomyocyte death during cardiac ischemic injury through the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). We previously found that the valosin-containing protein (VCP), an ATPase-associated protein, protects cardiomyocytes against stress-induced death and also inhibits mPTP opening in vitro. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we tested our hypothesis that VCP acts as a novel regulator of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake proteins and resists cardiac mitochondrial Ca2+ overload by modulating mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis. By using a cardiac-specific transgenic (TG) mouse model in which VCP is overexpressed by 3.5 folds in the heart compared to the wild type (WT) mouse, we found that, under the pathological extra-mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, Ca2+ entry into cardiac mitochondria was reduced in VCP TG mice compared to their little-matched WT mice, subsequently preventing mPTP opening and ATP depletion under the Ca2+ challenge. Mechanistically, overexpression of VCP in the heart resulted in post-translational protein degradation of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake protein 1 (MICU1), an activator of the mitochondria Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) that is responsible for mitochondrial calcium uptake. Together, our results reveal a new regulatory role of VCP in cardiac mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis and unlock the potential mechanism by which VCP confers its cardioprotection.

PMID: 31368507 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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