Abstract 5290: Cypher Long but not Short Isoform Specific Knockout Mice Result in Cardiac Signaling Defects and Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Our previous studies have demonstrated that Cypher, a PDZ-LIM protein localized at the Z line, plays a pivotal role in heart function. We recently identified long and short splice isoforms of Cypher, which are characterized by the presence and absence of LIM domains, respectively. The LIM domain of Cypher is thought to be involved in signaling, based on its ability to directly interact with signaling proteins. In human patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) we discovered Cypher gene mutations, which affect either long or short isoform or both isoforms. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the role of Cypher isoforms in DCM remain unclear. To determine the role of Cypher isoforms in cardiac signaling and disease in vivo, we generated two Cypher isoform specific knockout mice. Selective ablation of Cypher long isoforms in mice resulted in partial neonatal lethality. However, hearts from viable Cypher long isoform deficient mice displayed Z line abnormalities and decreased cardiomyocyte widths, which resulted in a progressive form of DCM, characterized by fibrosis, calcification and lethality. The effects on cardiac function and disease observed in long-isoform specific Cypher knockout mice were preceded by significant decreases in cardiac protein kinase C and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling. These results are in contrast to Cypher short isoform deficient mice, which were viable with no overt cardiac morphology and signaling abnormalities. These results reveal distinct functional roles for Cypher isoforms in the heart as well as shed light into the molecular mechanisms underlying dilated cardiomyopathy.