1. Department of Cardiology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100730, China.
2. Central Research Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Obscurin participates in the development of striated muscles and maintenance of the functional sarcoplasmic reticulum. However, the role of obscurin in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is not well understood. We aimed to study the novel obscurin mutations in the pathogenesis of ARVC and the underlying mechanisms.
Methods: We generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) through retroviral reprogramming of peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from a 46-year-old female diagnosed with ARVC, carrying a mutation in OBSCN. The cells differentiated into functional iPSC-based cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs), whose phenotype was determined by transmission electron microscopy, electrophysiological description, immunofluorescence staining, and Oil Red O staining. Molecular characterization was performed by bioinformatic analyses, and identification by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blotting.
Results: ARVC-iPSC-CMs mutation in OBSCN showed significant accumulation of lipids, increased pleomorphism, irregular Z-bands, and increased L type calcium currents. Functional enrichment analysis identified pathways involved in focal adhesion and structure formation; the adipocytokines and PPAR signaling pathways were also activated in the ARVC group. Moreover, our results from ultra-high-resolution microscopy, qRT-PCR and Western blotting confirmed that the mutant OBSCN protein and its anchor protein, Ank1.5, showed structural disorder and decreased expression, but there was increased expression of junctional protein N-Cadherin. Further analysis revealed the gene expression of other desmosomal proteins in ARVC-iPSC-CMs was also decreased but some adipogenesis pathway-related proteins (PPARγ, C/EBPα, and FABP4) were increased.
Conclusion: A novel frameshift mutation in OBSCN caused phenotypic alteration accompanied by disrupted localization and decreased expression of its anchoring protein Ank1.5. Furthermore, there was an accumulation of lipids with an increase in fatty fibrosis area and myocardial structural disorder, possibly leading to dysrhythmia in calcium channel-related myocardial contraction. These observations suggested the possibility of attenuating ARVC progression by therapeutic modulation of OBSCN expression.
Keywords: arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, induced pluripotent stem cells-based cardiomyocytes, obscurin