Abstract 12192: MBNL1 Directly Regulates the Alternative Splicing of mRNAs That Promote Myofibroblast Differentiation
Rationale: During the cardiac injury response fibroblasts differentiate into myofibroblasts, a cell type that enhances extracellular matrix production and facilitates ventricular remodeling. To better understand the molecular mechanisms whereby myofibroblasts are generated in the heart we performed a genome-wide screen with 18,000 cDNAs, which identified the RNA-binding protein muscleblind-like splicing regulator 1 (MBNL1), suggesting a novel association between mRNA alternative splicing and the regulation of myofibroblast differentiation.
Objective: To determine the mechanism whereby MBNL1 regulates myofibroblast differentiation and the cardiac fibrotic response.
Methods and Results: Confirming the results from our genome wide screen, adenoviral-mediated overexpression of MBNL1 promoted transformation of rat cardiac fibroblasts and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) into myofibroblasts, similar to the level of conversion obtained by the profibrotic agonist transforming growth factor β (TGFβ). Antithetically, Mbnl1-/- MEFs were refractory to TGFβ-induced myofibroblast differentiation. MBNL1 expression is induced in transforming fibroblasts in response to TGFβ and angiotensin II. These results were extended in vivo by analysis of dermal wound healing, a process dependent on myofibroblast differentiation and their proper activity. By day 6 control mice had achieved 82% skin wound closure compared with only 40% in Mbnl1-/- mice. Moreover, Mbnl1-/- mice had reduced survival following myocardial infarction injury due to defective fibrotic scar formation and healing. High throughput RNA sequencing (RNAseq) and RNA immunoprecipitation revealed that MBNL1 directly regulates the alternative splicing of transcripts for myofibroblast signaling factors and cytoskeletal-assembly elements. Functional analysis of these factors as mediators of MBNL1 activity is also described here.
Conclusions: Collectively, our data suggest that MBNL1 coordinates myofibroblast transformation by directly mediating the alternative splicing of an array of mRNAs encoding differentiation-specific signaling transcripts, which then alter the fibroblast proteome for myofibroblast structure and function.
Author Disclosures: J. Davis: None. M. Sargent: None. J. Shi: None. L. Wei: None. M.S. Swanson: None. J.D. Molkentin: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.