Journal Article

Smooth muscle protein-22-mediated deletion of <i>Tsc1</i> results in cardiac hypertrophy that is mTORC1-mediated and reversed by rapamycin

Amy J. Malhowski, Haider Hira, Sarah Bashiruddin, Rod Warburton, June Goto, Blanton Robert, David J. Kwiatkowski and Geraldine A. Finlay

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 20, issue 7, pages 1290-1305
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Smooth muscle protein-22-mediated deletion of Tsc1 results in cardiac hypertrophy that is mTORC1-mediated and reversed by rapamycin

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Constitutive activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a key kinase complex that regulates cell size and growth, is observed with inactivating mutations of either of the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) genes, Tsc1 and Tsc2. Tsc1 and Tsc2 are highly expressed in cardiovascular tissue but their functional role there is unknown. We generated a tissue-specific knock-out of Tsc1, using a conditional allele of Tsc1 and a cre recombinase allele regulated by the smooth muscle protein-22 (SM22) promoter (Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/) to constitutively activate mTOR in cardiovascular tissue. Significant gene recombination (∼80%) occurred in the heart by embryonic day (E) 15, and reduction in Tsc1 expression with increased levels of phosphorylated S6 kinase (S6K) and S6 was observed, consistent with constitutive activation of mTORC1. Cardiac hypertrophy was evident by E15 with post-natal progression to heart weights of 142 ± 24 mg in Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/ mice versus 65 ± 14 mg in controls (P < 0.01). Median survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/− mice was 24 days, with none surviving beyond 6 weeks. Pathologic and echocardiographic analysis revealed severe biventricular hypertrophy without evidence of fibrosis or myocyte disarray, and significant reduction in the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (P < 0.001) and fractional index (P < 0.001). Inhibition of mTORC1 by rapamycin resulted in prolonged survival of Tsc1c/cSM22cre+/− mice, with regression of ventricular hypertrophy. These data support a critical role for the Tsc1/Tsc2-mTORC1-S6K axis in the normal development of cardiovascular tissue and also suggest possible therapeutic potential of rapamycin in cardiac disorders where pathologic mTORC1 activation occurs.

Journal Article.  8171 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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