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Pflugers Arch. 2009 Aug;458(4):785-93. doi: 10.1007/s00424-009-0659-x. Epub 2009 Mar 18.

RhoA-ROCK signaling is involved in contraction-mediated inhibition of SERCA2a expression in cardiomyocytes.

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Laboratory for Physiology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research (ICaR-VU), VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In neonatal ventricular cardiomyocytes (NVCM), decreased contractile activity stimulates sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase2a (SERCA2a), analogous to reduced myocardial load in vivo. This study investigated in contracting NVCM the role of load-dependent RhoA-ROCK signaling in SERCA2a regulation. Contractile arrest of NVCM resulted in low peri-nuclear localized RhoA levels relative to contracting NVCM. In arrested NVCM, ROCK activity was decreased (59%) and paralleled a loss in F-actin levels. Y-27632-induced ROCK inhibition in contracting NVCM increased SERCA2a messenger RNA expression by 150%. This stimulation was transcriptional, as evident from transfections with the SERCA2a promoter. A reciprocal effect of Y-27632 treatment on the promoter activity of atrial natriuretic factor was observed. SERCA2a transcription was not altered by co-transfection of the RhoA-ROCK-dependent serum response factor (SRF) alone or in combination with myocardin. Furthermore, GATA4, another ROCK-dependent transcription factor, induced rather than repressed SERCA2a transcription. This study shows that contractile activity suppresses SERCA2a gene expression via RhoA-ROCK-dependent transcription modulation. This modulation is likely to be accomplished by a transcription factor other than SRF, myocardin, or GATA4.

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