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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017;44(4):1559-1577. doi: 10.1159/000485651. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Functional Characterization of a Novel Truncating Mutation in Lamin A/C Gene in a Family with a Severe Cardiomyopathy with Conduction Defects.

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Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Medical Genetics, Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy.
Cardiology Division, Cardiac Arrhythmia Center and Cardiomyopathies Unit, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Rome, Italy.
Department of Sciences, University of Basilicata, Via dell'Ateneo Lucano, Potenza, Italy.



Truncating LMNA gene mutations occur in many inherited cardiomyopathy cases, but the molecular mechanisms involved in the disease they cause have not yet been systematically investigated. Here, we studied a novel frameshift LMNA variant (p.D243Gfs*4) identified in three members of an Italian family co-segregating with a severe form of cardiomyopathy with conduction defects.


HEK293 cells and HL-1 cardiomyocytes were transiently transfected with either Lamin A or D243Gfs*4 tagged with GFP (or mCherry). D243Gfs*4 expression, cellular localization and its effects on diverse cellular mechanisms were evaluated with western blotting, laser-scanning confocal microscopy and video-imaging analysis in single cells.


When expressed in HEK293 cells, GFP- (or mCherry)-tagged LMNA D243Gfs*4 colocalized with calnexin within the ER. ER mislocalization of LMNA D243Gfs*4 did not significantly induce ER stress response, abnormal Ca2+ handling and apoptosis when compared with HEK293 cells expressing another truncated mutant of LMNA (R321X) which similarly accumulates within the ER. Of note, HEK293-LMNA D243Gfs*4 cells showed a significant reduction of connexin 43 (CX43) expression level, which was completely rescued by activation of the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway. When expressed in HL-1 cardiomyocytes, D243Gfs*4 significantly impaired the spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations recorded in these cells as result of propagation of the depolarizing waves through the gap junctions between non-transfected cells surrounding a cell harboring the mutation. Furthermore, mCh-D243Gfs*4 HL-1 cardiomyocytes showed reduced CX43-dependent Lucifer Yellow (LY) loading and propagation. Of note, activation of β-catenin rescued both LY loading and LMNA D243Gfs*4 -HL-1 cells spontaneous activity propagation.


Overall, the present results clearly indicate the involvement of the aberrant CX43 expression/activity as a pathogenic mechanism for the conduction defects associated to this LMNA truncating alteration.


Ca2+ signaling; Cardiomyocytes; Connexin; Endoplasmic reticulum; Lamin A/C gene; Laminopathies; Nucleus

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