LncRNA ZFAS1 as a SERCA2a Inhibitor to Cause Intracellular Ca2+ Overload and Contractile Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Myocardial Infarction
Rationale: Ca2+ homeostasis, a critical determinant of cardiac contractile function, is critically regulated by sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase 2a (SERCA2a). Our previous study has identified ZFAS1 as a new long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) biomarker of acute myocardial infarction (MI).
Objective: To evaluate the effects of ZFAS1 on SERCA2a and the associated Ca2+ homeostasis and cardiac contractile function in the setting of MI.
Methods and Results: ZFAS1 expression was robustly increased in cytoplasm and sarcoplasmic reticulum in a mouse model of MI and a cellular model of hypoxia. Knockdown of endogenous ZFAS1 by virus-mediated silencing shRNA partially abrogated the ischemia-induced contractile dysfunction. Overexpression of ZFAS1 in otherwise normal mice created similar impairment of cardiac function as that observed in MI mice. Moreover, at the cellular level ZFAS1 overexpression weakened the contractility of cardiac muscles. At the subcellular level, ZFAS1 deleteriously altered the Ca2+ transient leading to intracellular Ca2+ overload in cardiomyocytes. At the molecular level, ZFAS1 was found to directly bind SERCA2a protein and to limit its activity, as well as to repress its expression. The effects of ZFAS1 were readily reversible upon knockdown of this lncRNA. Notably, a sequence domain of ZFAS1 gene that is conserved across species mimicked the effects of the full-length ZFAS1. Mutation of this domain or application of an antisense fragment to this conserved region efficiently canceled out the deleterious actions of ZFAS1. ZFAS1 had no significant effects on other Ca2+-handling regulatory proteins.
Conclusions: ZFAS1 is an endogenous SERCA2a inhibitor, acting by binding to SERCA2a protein to limit its intracellular level and inhibit its activity, and a contributor to the impairment of cardiac contractile function in MI. Therefore, anti-ZFAS1 might be considered a new therapeutic strategy for preserving SERCA2a activity thereby cardiac function under pathological conditions of the heart.
- calcium handling
- contractile function
- myocardial infarction
- cardiac contractility and energetics
- non-coding RNA
- cardiac function
- Received September 24, 2017.
- Revision received February 5, 2018.
- Accepted February 22, 2018.
Circulation Research is published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wolters Kluwer. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDervis License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited, the use is noncommercial, and no modifications or adaptations are made.