Inadequate ubiquitination-proteasome coupling contributes to myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury

Chengjun Hu, Yihao Tian, Hongxin Xu, Bo Pan, Erin M. Terpstra, Penglong Wu, Hongmin Wang, Faqian Li, Jinbao Liu, Xuejun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) degrades a protein molecule via 2 main steps: ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Extraproteasomal ubiquitin receptors are thought to couple the 2 steps, but this proposition has not been tested in vivo with vertebrates. More importantly, impaired UPS performance plays a major role in cardiac pathogenesis, including myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), but the molecular basis of UPS impairment remains poorly understood. Ubiquilin1 is a bona fide extraproteasomal ubiquitin receptor. Here, we report that mice with a cardiomyocyte-restricted knockout of Ubiquilin1 (Ubqln1-CKO mice) accumulated a surrogate UPS substrate (GFPdgn) and increased myocardial ubiquitinated proteins without altering proteasome activities, resulting in late-onset cardiomyopathy and a markedly shortened life span. When subject to regional myocardial ischemia-reperfusion, young Ubqln1-CKO mice showed substantially exacerbated cardiac malfunction and enlarged infarct size, and conversely, mice with transgenic Ubqln1 overexpression displayed attenuated IRI. Furthermore, Ubqln1 overexpression facilitated proteasomal degradation of oxidized proteins and the degradation of a UPS surrogate substrate in cultured cardiomyocytes without increasing autophagic flux. These findings demonstrate that Ubiquilin1 is essential to cardiac ubiquitination-proteasome coupling and that an inadequacy in the coupling represents a major pathogenic factor for myocardial IRI; therefore, strategies to strengthen coupling have the potential to reduce IRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5294-5306
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH grants HL072166, HL085629, and HL131667. We wish to thank Andrea Jahn and Megan Lewno for their assistance in maintaining mouse colonies and genotype determination.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2018, American Society for Clinical Investigation.


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