1. Department of Cardiology and Shanghai Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China.
2. Department of Cardiology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Jiangsu 226001, China.
3. Department of Cardiology, Xijing Hospital, Air Force Medical University, Xi'an, 710032, China.
4. Center for Cardiovascular Research and Alternative Medicine, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Rationale: Ischemic heart disease remains a primary threat to human health, while its precise etiopathogenesis is still unclear. TBC domain family member 15 (TBC1D15) is a RAB7 GTPase-activating protein participating in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics. This study was designed to explore the role of TBC1D15 in acute myocardial infarction (MI)-induced cardiac injury and the possible mechanism(s) involved.
Methods: Mitochondria-lysosome interaction was evaluated using transmission electron microscopy and live cell time-lapse imaging. Mitophagy flux was measured by fluorescence and western blotting. Adult mice were transfected with adenoviral TBC1D15 through intra-myocardium injection prior to a 3-day MI procedure. Cardiac morphology and function were evaluated at the levels of whole-heart, cardiomyocytes, intracellular organelles and cell signaling transduction.
Results: Our results revealed downregulated level of TBC1D15, reduced systolic function, overt infarct area and myocardial interstitial fibrosis, elevated cardiomyocyte apoptosis and mitochondrial damage 3 days after MI. Overexpression of TBC1D15 restored cardiac systolic function, alleviated infarct area and myocardial interstitial fibrosis, reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and mitochondrial damage although TBC1D15 itself did not exert any myocardial effect in the absence of MI. Further examination revealed that 3-day MI-induced accumulation of damaged mitochondria was associated with blockade of mitochondrial clearance because of enlarged defective lysosomes and subsequent interrupted mitophagy flux, which were attenuated by TBC1D15 overexpression. Mechanistic studies showed that 3-day MI provoked abnormal mitochondria-lysosome contacts, leading to lysosomal enlargement and subsequently disabled lysosomal clearance of damaged mitochondria. TBC1D15 loosened the abnormal mitochondria-lysosome contacts through both the Fis1 binding and the RAB7 GAPase-activating domain of TBC1D15, as TBC1D15-dependent beneficial responses were reversed by interference with either of these two domains both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions: Our findings indicated a pivotal role of TBC1D15 in acute MI-induced cardiac anomalies through Fis1/RAB7 regulated mitochondria-lysosome contacts and subsequent lysosome-dependent mitophagy flux activation, which may provide a new target in the clinical treatment of acute MI.
Keywords: Myocardial infarction, Mitophagy flux, Mitochondria-lysosome contacts, TBC1D15, RAB7