Sep 24, 2019
Jane Ferguson: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Getting Personal: Omics of the Heart, the monthly podcast from Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine. I'm Jane Ferguson, an assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an associate editor at CircGen. This is episode 32 from September 2019. Starting off this month, we have a paper on Genetic Mosaicism in Calmodulinopathy brought to us by Lisa Wren, Alfred George and colleagues from Northwestern University. They were interested in exploring the disease phenotypes that result from variation in the calmodulin genes, CALM1, 2 and 3.
Mutations in calmodulin are known to associate with congenital arrhythmia, but the group hypothesized that there may be a broader range of phenotypes associated with calmodulin mutations. They report on four unrelated families all with pro bands exhibiting symptoms of prolonged QTC interval and documented ventricular arrhythmia. They conducted targeted exome sequencing in these individuals and in their families and identified mutations in calmodulin genes, including two novel mutations. In one family with multiple occurrences of intrauterine fetal demise, there was evidence for sematic mosaicism in both parents.
The team studied the two novel mutations and found that the variants led to alterations in a calcium binding site resulting in impaired calcium binding. In human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, the team showed that the mutations impaired calcium dependent inactivation of L-type calcium channels and prolonged action potential duration. Their study not only demonstrates that mutations in calmodulins can cause dysregulation of L-type calcium channels, but that parental mosaicism maybe a factor in families with unexplained fetal arrhythmia or fetal demise.
Our next paper come from Wan G Pang, Christiana Kartsonaki, Michael Holmes and Zing Min Chen from the University of Oxford and Peking University Health Science Center and is entitled Physical Activity, Sedentary Leisure Time, Circulating Metabolic Markers, and Risk of Major Vascular Diseases. In this study, the authors were interested in finding out whether circulating metabolites are associated with the relationship between physical inactivity or sedentary behavior and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They identified over 3000 cases of incident CVD from the China Kadoorie Biobank and included over 1400 controls without CVD. They measured 225 different metabolites and baseline plasma samples using NMR.
They used measures of self-reported physical activity and sedentary leisure time to associate physical activity with circulating metabolites, and then they ran analysis to relate the metabolites to CVD. Physical activity and sedentary leisure time were associated with over 100 metabolic markers. In general, the patterns of associations were similar using either activity measure. Physical activity was inversely related to very low and low density HDL particles, but positively related to large and very large HDL particle concentrations. Physical activity was also inversely associated with alanine, glucose, lactate, acetoacetate, and glycoprotein acetyls.
When they examined the associations of these same metabolites with CVD, the directions were generally consistent with expectation, going on the premise that physical activity is protective, and that sedentary behavior is a risk factor for CVD. Their analyses suggests that metabolite markers could explain about 70% of the protective associations of physical activity and around 50% of the risk associations of sedentary leisure time with cardiovascular disease. Next up, we have a paper on Biallelic Variants in ASNA1, Encoding a Cytosolic Targeting Factor of Tail-Anchored Proteins, Cause Rapidly Progressive Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, coming from Judith Verhagen, Ingrid van de Laar and colleagues from University Medical Center Rotterdam.
Their focus was on pediatric cardiomyopathies, which are both clinically and genetically heterogeneous. They had identified a family where two siblings had died during early infancy of rapidly progressive dilated cardiomyopathy. Through exome sequencing, they identified variants in the ASNA-1 gene and established that the children were compound heterozygotes for the variants. This highly conserved gene encodes an ATPase, which is required for post-translational membrane insertion of tail-anchored proteins. The team looked at expression of this protein in patient samples and then followed this up with functional analyses using cells and zebrafish. They found that one of the variants was predicted to result in a premature stop codon.
In support of this, they observed decreased protein expression in myocardial tissue and skin fibroblasts. The other variant caused a missense mutation, and the team found that this resulted in protein misfolding, as well as less effective tail-anchored protein insertion. In zebrafish, knock out of the ASNA1 gene resulted in reduced cardiac contractility and early lethality, which could not be rescued by either version of the variant mRNA. This translational study highlights the importance of the ASNA1 gene as a cardiomyopathy susceptibility gene and further reveals the importance of tail-anchored membrane protein insertion pathways in cardiac function.
The next paper from Karni Moshal, Gideon Koren and colleagues from Brown University is entitled LITAF Regulates Cardiac L-Type Calcium Channels by Modulating NEDD 4-1 Ubiquitin Ligase. In this paper, the authors report on the role of ubiquitination as a crucial component in cardiac ion channel turnover and action potential duration. Previous genome wide association studies of QT interval had identified snips in or near genes regulating protein ubiquitination, particularly the LITAF or lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor gene. Using zebrafish, the team performed optical mapping in hearts to identify calcium and found that knocked down of LITAF resulted in an increase in calcium transients.
They studied intracellular calcium handling and rapid derived cardiomyocytes and found that over expression of LITAF caused a decrease in L-type calcium channel current and abundance of the L-type calcium channel alpha1c sub unit or Cava1c, whereas LITAF knocked down increased calcium channel current and Cava1c protein. LITAF downregulated total and surface pools of Cava1c via increased Cava1c ubiquitination and lysosomal degradation in tsA201 kidney cells. There was evidence of colocalization between LITAF and L-type calcium channel, or LTCC, in the tsA201 kidney cells and in cardiomyocytes. In the tsA201 cells, NEDD4-1 protein increased Cava1c ubiquitination, but a catalytically inactive form of NEDD4-1 had no effect.
Cava1c ubiquitination was further increased by co-expressed LITAF NEDD4-1, but not the inactive version of NeNEDD4-1. NEDD4-1 knockdown abolished the negative effect of LITAF on L-type calcium channel current and Cava1c levels in three week old rapid cardiomyocytes. Taken together, these data show that LITAF acts as an adapter protein promoting NEDD4-1 mediated ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of LTCC, highlighting LITAF as a novel regulator of cardiac excitation. Rounding out this issue is a review on the Gut Microbiome and Response to Cardiovascular Drugs from Sony Tuteja and Jane Ferguson from the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Since that last author is me, I'm sure I have a biased view of the importance of the topic, but the increasing awareness of the microbiome in every aspect of health has also led to increased awareness of the role of commensal microbiota in drug metabolism, including in the metabolism of drugs used to treat cardiovascular diseases. In this article, we aim to review what is currently known about how the gut microbiome interacts with cardiovascular drugs and to summarize some of the mechanisms whereby gut microbiota might affect drug metabolism. Early evidence suggests that the gut microbiome modulates response to statins and antihypertensive medications, but there may be many other drugs that are susceptible to interaction with microbiota.
Drug metabolism by the gut microbiome can result in altered drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics or in the formation of toxic metabolites which can interfere with drug response. While we are still in a relatively early stage in this field, we suggest that a better understanding of the complex interactions of the gut microbiome, host factors and response to medications will be important for the development of novel precision therapeutics in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. That's all for the September issue of Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine. Come back next month for the next installment. Thanks for listening.
This podcast was brought to you by Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine and the American Heart Association Council on Genomic and Precision Medicine. This program is copyright American Heart Association 2019.