Abstract 835: Downregulation Of Cardiomyocyte-enriched Micrornas Contributes To Altered Gene Expression In Heart Failure
Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression posttransciptionally. Altered miRNA expression has been implicated in diverse human diseases such as cancer. Accumulating evidence suggests the importance of miRNAs in the heart. However, the contribution of miRNAs to heart disease remains incompletely understood.
Methods and Results: We measured the expression of 261 miRNAs in heart failure resulting from transgenic overexpression of calcineurin. 59 miRNAs were confidently detected in the heart, and 11 miRNAs belonging to 6 families (miR-1, -15, -30, -133, -195, -208) were downregulated compared to non-transgenic control (Welch’s t-test nominal p<0.05, false discovery rate <0.001). The results were validated by qRTPCR. There was no upregulated miRNA. Four of these miRNAs (miR-1, -30, -133, -208) were enriched in a purified cardiomyocyte preparation, compared to non-myocytes. Downregulation of these four miRNAs was reproduced in purified failing versus non-failing cardiomyocytes. This excluded artifactual downregulation from reduced myocyte fraction in failing hearts. The remaining two miRNAs (miR-15, and -195) were exclusively expressed in non-cardiomyocytes and did not changed in failing cardiomyocytes. Next, we used Affymetrix expression profiling to show that the predicted targets of these downregulated miRNAs were disproportionately upregulated compared to the entire transcriptome (Fisher’s exact p < 0.001). This suggests an association between downregulation of these miRNAs and upregulation of predicted target genes in heart failure. One particularly intriguing target of the predominant cardiac microRNA miR-1 is calmodulin, a key regulator of calcium signaling. We showed that calmodulin and downstream calmodulin signaling to NFAT is regulated by miR-1 in cultured cardiomyocytes.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that altered expression of cardiomyocyte-enriched miRNAs may contribute to abnormal gene expression in heart failure. The regulation of calmodulin and calcium signaling by miR-1 suggests a mechanism by which miR-1 may regulate heart function.