When signalling goes wrong: pathogenic variants in structural and signalling proteins causing cardiomyopathies
Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) and its inhibitory protein called phospholamban (PLN) are pivotal for Ca2+ handling in cardiomyocyte and are known that their expression level and activity were changed in the heart failure patients. To examine whether PLN inhibition can improve survival rate as well as cardiac function in heart failure, we performed PLN ablation in calsequestrin overexpressing (CSQ-Tg) mice, a severe heart failure model, using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated (Cas) system. According this method, generation rate of PLN wild type mice (PLN copy >0.95) and PLN homozygous knockout (KO) mice (PLN copy <0.05) were 39.1% and 10.5%, respectively. While CSQ overexpression causes severe heart failure symptoms and premature death, a significant ameliorating effect on survival rate was observed in PLN homozygous KO/CSQ-Tg mice compared to PLN wild type/CSQ-Tg mice (median survival days are 55 and 50 days, respectively). Measurement of cardiac function with cardiac catheterization at the age of 5 weeks revealed that PLN ablation improved cardiac function in CSQ-Tg mice without affecting heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, increases in atrial and lung weight, an index of congestion, were significantly inhibited by PLN ablation. These results suggest that PLN deletion would be a promising approach to improve both mortality and cardiac function in the heart failure.