Enhanced activation of p21-activated kinase 1 in heart failure contributes to dephosphorylation of connexin 43

Academic Article


  • Aims We previously showed decreased cellular coupling and dephosphorylation of the gap junctional protein connexin 43 (Cx43) in left ventricular (LV) myocytes from an arrhythmogenic rabbit model of non-ischaemic heart failure (HF) that was associated with a 2.5-fold increase in the amount of protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) co-localized with Cx43. Here, we further explore the molecular mechanisms of enhanced dephosphorylation of Cx43 in HF. p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) is a serinethreonine protein kinase that has been shown to activate PP2A. Methods and resultsWe found that total PAK1 and activated PAK1 (PAK1-P Thr423) were both increased in HF rabbit LV (vs. controls). PAK1 co-immunoprecipitated (co-IPd) with Cx43 protein and, with HF, co-IPd PAK1 and PAK1-P Thr423 were increased. With failing human LV, PAK1 total protein and PAK1-P Thr423 were also increased globally and locally (co-IPd with Cx43). To further explore the role of PAK1 in modulating Cx43 dephosphorylation and intercellular coupling, we overexpressed active PAK1 in isolated LV myocytes from control rabbits and in HEK293 cells with genetically modified overexpression of Cx43 (HEK293-Cx43). PAK1 overexpression in both rabbit myocytes and HEK293-Cx43 cells significantly increased PP2A activity (globally and at the level of Cx43), increased dephosphorylated Cx43, and markedly reduced intercellular dye coupling. These effects were attenuated with PP2A inhibition using okadaic acid (10 nM). ConclusionsPAK1 and PP2A are integral components of a macromolecular complex with cardiac Cx43, and increased activation of associated PAK1 can contribute to enhanced Cx43 dephosphorylation and impaired intercellular coupling that may underlie slow conduction in HF. © 2011 The Author.
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    Author List

  • Ai X; Jiang A; Ke Y; Solaro RJ; Pogwizd SM
  • Start Page

  • 106
  • End Page

  • 114
  • Volume

  • 92
  • Issue

  • 1