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Circ Res. 2011 Jan 7;108(1):40-50. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.230607. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Perturbation of cullin deneddylation via conditional Csn8 ablation impairs the ubiquitin-proteasome system and causes cardiomyocyte necrosis and dilated cardiomyopathy in mice.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Institute, Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, 57069, USA.



Ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) dysfunction has been implicated in cardiac pathogenesis. Understanding how cardiac UPS function is regulated will facilitate delineating the pathophysiological significance of UPS dysfunction and developing new therapeutic strategies. The COP9 (constitutive photomorphogenesis mutant 9) signalosome (CSN) may regulate the UPS, but this has not been tested in a critical vertebrate organ. Moreover, the role of CSN in a postmitotic organ and the impact of cardiomyocyte-restricted UPS dysfunction on the heart have not been reported.


We sought to determine the role of CSN-mediated deneddylation in UPS function and postnatal cardiac development and function.


Cardiomyocyte-restricted Csn8 gene knockout (CR-Csn8KO) in mice was achieved using a Cre-LoxP system. CR-Csn8KO impaired CSN holocomplex formation and cullin deneddylation and resulted in decreases in F-box proteins. Probing with a surrogate misfolded protein revealed severe impairment of UPS function in CR-Csn8KO hearts. Consequently, CR-Csn8KO mice developed cardiac hypertrophy, which rapidly progressed to heart failure and premature death. Massive cardiomyocyte necrosis rather than apoptosis appears to be the primary cause of the heart failure. This is because (1) massive necrotic cell death and increased infiltration of leukocytes were observed before increased apoptosis; (2) increased apoptosis was not detectable until overt heart failure was observed; and (3) cardiac overexpression of Bcl2 failed to ameliorate CR-Csn8KO mouse premature death.


Csn8/CSN plays an essential role in cullin deneddylation, UPS-mediated degradation of a subset of proteins, and the survival of cardiomyocytes and, therefore, is indispensable in postnatal development and function of the heart. Cardiomyocyte-restricted UPS malfunction can cause heart failure.

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