Protein Aggregation Is an Early Manifestation of Phospholamban p.(Arg14del)-Related Cardiomyopathy: Development of PLN-R14del-Related Cardiomyopathy

Tim R Eijgenraam, Cornelis J Boogerd, Nienke M Stege, Vivian Oliveira Nunes Teixeira, Martin M Dokter, Lukas E Schmidt, Xiaoke Yin, Konstantinos Theofilatos, Manuel Mayr, Peter van der Meer, Eva van Rooij, Jolanda van der Velden, Herman H W Silljé, Rudolf A de Boer

Published: 1 November 2021


Background: The p.(Arg14del) pathogenic variant (R14del) of the PLN (phospholamban) gene is a prevalent cause of cardiomyopathy with heart failure. The exact underlying pathophysiology is unknown, and a suitable therapy is unavailable. We aim to identify molecular perturbations underlying this cardiomyopathy in a clinically relevant PLN-R14del mouse model.

Methods: We investigated the progression of cardiomyopathy in PLN-R14Δ/Δ mice using echocardiography, ECG, and histological tissue analysis. RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry were performed on cardiac tissues at 3 (before the onset of disease), 5 (mild cardiomyopathy), and 8 (end stage) weeks of age. Data were compared with cardiac expression levels of mice that underwent myocardial ischemia-reperfusion or myocardial infarction surgery, in an effort to identify alterations that are specific to PLN-R14del-related cardiomyopathy.

Results: At 3 weeks of age, PLN-R14Δ/Δ mice had normal cardiac function, but from the age of 4 weeks, we observed increased myocardial fibrosis and impaired global longitudinal strain. From 5 weeks onward, ventricular dilatation, decreased contractility, and diminished ECG voltages were observed. PLN protein aggregation was present before onset of functional deficits. Transcriptomics and proteomics revealed differential regulation of processes involved in remodeling, inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction, in part, similar to ischemic heart disease. Altered protein homeostasis pathways were identified exclusively in PLN-R14Δ/Δ mice, even before disease onset, in concert with aggregate formation.

Conclusions: We mapped the development of PLN-R14del-related cardiomyopathy and identified alterations in proteostasis and PLN protein aggregation among the first manifestations of this disease, which could possibly be a novel target for therapy.

Full Access Link: Circulation. Heart failure