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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):C577-86. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00125.2011. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Nav1.5-dependent persistent Na+ influx activates CaMKII in rat ventricular myocytes and N1325S mice.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Gilead Sciences, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


Late Na(+) current (I(NaL)) and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) are both increased in the diseased heart. Recently, CaMKII was found to phosphorylate the Na(+) channel 1.5 (Na(v)1.5), resulting in enhanced I(NaL). Conversely, an increase of I(NaL) would be expected to cause elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) and activation of CaMKII. However, a relationship between enhancement of I(NaL) and activation of CaMKII has yet to be demonstrated. We investigated whether Na(+) influx via Na(v)1.5 leads to CaMKII activation and explored the functional significance of this pathway. In neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM), treatment with the I(NaL) activators anemone toxin II (ATX-II) or veratridine increased CaMKII autophosphorylation and increased phosphorylation of CaMKII substrates phospholamban and ryanodine receptor 2. Knockdown of Na(v)1.5 (but not Na(v)1.1 or Na(v)1.2) prevented ATX-II-induced CaMKII phosphorylation, providing evidence for a specific role of Na(v)1.5 in CaMKII activation. In support of this view, CaMKII activity was also increased in hearts of transgenic mice overexpressing a gain-of-function Na(v)1.5 mutant (N(1325)S). The effects of both ATX-II and the N(1325)S mutation were reversed by either I(NaL) inhibition (with ranolazine or tetrodotoxin) or CaMKII inhibition (with KN93 or autocamtide 2-related inhibitory peptide). Furthermore, ATX-II treatment also induced CaMKII-Na(v)1.5 coimmunoprecipitation. The same association between CaMKII and Na(v)1.5 was also found in N(1325)S mice, suggesting a direct protein-protein interaction. Pharmacological inhibitions of either CaMKII or I(NaL) also prevented ATX-II-induced cell death in NRVM and reduced the incidence of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia induced by ATX-II in rat perfused hearts. Taken together, these results suggest that a Na(v)1.5-dependent increase in Na(+) influx leads to activation of CaMKII, which in turn phosphorylates Na(v)1.5, further promoting Na(+) influx. Pharmacological inhibition of either CaMKII or Na(v)1.5 can ameliorate cardiac dysfunction caused by excessive Na(+) influx.

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