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Circ Heart Fail. 2011 Mar;4(2):214-23. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.110.958694. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Junctophilin-2 expression silencing causes cardiocyte hypertrophy and abnormal intracellular calcium-handling.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Junctophilin-2 (JPH2), a protein expressed in the junctional membrane complex, is necessary for proper intracellular calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling in cardiac myocytes. Downregulation of JPH2 expression in a model of cardiac hypertrophy was recently associated with defective coupling between plasmalemmal L-type Ca(2+) channels and sarcoplasmic reticular ryanodine receptors. However, it remains unclear whether JPH2 expression is altered in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In addition, the effects of downregulation of JPH2 expression on intracellular Ca(2+) handling are presently poorly understood. We sought to determine whether loss of JPH2 expression is noted among patients with HCM and whether expression silencing might perturb Ca(2+) handling in a prohypertrophic manner.


JPH2 expression was reduced in flash-frozen human cardiac tissue procured from patients with HCM compared with ostensibly healthy traumatic death victims. Partial silencing of JPH2 expression in HL-1 cells by a small interfering RNA probe targeted to murine JPH2 mRNA (shJPH2) resulted in myocyte hypertrophy and increased expression of known markers of cardiac hypertrophy. Whereas expression levels of major Ca(2+)-handling proteins were unchanged, shJPH2 cells demonstrated depressed maximal Ca(2+) transient amplitudes that were insensitive to L-type Ca(2+) channel activation with JPH2 knockdown. Further, reduced caffeine-triggered sarcoplasmic reticulum store Ca(2+) levels were observed with potentially increased total Ca(2+) stores. Spontaneous Ca(2+) oscillations were elicited at a higher extracellular [Ca(2+)] and with decreased frequency in JPH2 knockdown cells.


Our results show that JPH2 levels are reduced in patients with HCM. Reduced JPH2 expression results in reduced excitation-contraction coupling gain as well as altered Ca(2+) homeostasis, which may be associated with prohypertrophic remodeling.

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