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Int Heart J. 2019 Mar 20;60(2):374-383. doi: 10.1536/ihj.18-073. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

Cyclin Dependent Kinase 1 (CDK1) Activates Cardiac Fibroblasts via Directly Phosphorylating Paxillin at Ser244.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University.


Atrial fibrillation has caused severe burden for people worldwide. Differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, and consequent progress in atrial structural remodeling have been considered the basis for persistent atrial fibrillation, yet little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the process. Here, we show that cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) is activated in atrial fibroblasts from patients with atrial fibrillation (AFPAF) and in platelet derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB)-treated atrial fibroblasts from patients with sinus rhythm (AFPSR). We also demonstrate that inhibition of CDK1 suppresses fibroblast differentiation and focal adhesion (FA) complex formation. The FA protein paxillin is phosphorylated directly at Ser244 by CDK1. Importantly, transfection of a paxillin construct harboring a Ser to Ala mutation causes FA complex disassembly and greatly inhibits fibroblast activation. AFPSRs applied with a lentiviral vector carrying the shRNA sequence of paxillin dramatically prevents PDGF-BB induced functional activation. Taken together, all these results suggest that phosphorylation of paxillin at Ser244 by CDK1 is a key mechanism in fibroblast differentiation and could eventually assist atrial fibrosis.


Atrial fibrillation; Fibrosis; Focal adhesion; Platelet derived growth factor BB

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