The endosomal trafficking regulator LITAF controls the cardiac nav1.5 channel via the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-2

Nilüfer N. Turan, Karni S. Moshal, Karim Roder, Brett C. Baggett, Anatoli Y. Kabakov, Saroj Dhakal, Ryota Teramoto, David Yi Eng Chiang, Mingwang Zhong, An Xie, Yichun Lu, Samuel C. Dudley, Calum A. MacRae, Alain Karma, Gideon Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The QT interval is a recording of cardiac electrical activity. Previous genome-wide association studies identified genetic variants that modify the QT interval upstream of LITAF (lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-a factor), a protein encoding a regulator of endosomal trafficking. However, it was not clear how LITAF might impact cardiac excitation. We investigated the effect of LITAF on the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.5, which is critical for cardiac depolarization. We show that overexpressed LITAF resulted in a significant increase in the density of Nav1.5-generated voltage-gated sodium current INa and Nav1.5 surface protein levels in rabbit cardiomyocytes and in HEK cells stably expressing Nav1.5. Proximity ligation assays showed co-localization of endogenous LITAF and Nav1.5 in cardiomyocytes, whereas co-immunoprecipitations confirmed they are in the same complex when overexpressed in HEK cells. In vitro data suggest that LITAF interacts with the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-2, a regulator of Nav1.5. LITAF overexpression downregulated NEDD4-2 in cardiomyocytes and HEK cells. In HEK cells, LITAF increased ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of co-expressed NEDD4-2 and significantly blunted the negative effect of NEDD4-2 on INa. We conclude that LITAF controls cardiac excitability by promoting degradation of NEDD4-2, which is essential for removal of surface Nav1.5. LITAF-knockout zebrafish showed increased variation in and a nonsignificant 15% prolongation of action potential duration. Computer simulations using a rabbit-cardiomyocyte model demonstrated that changes in Ca21 and Na1 homeostasis are responsible for the surprisingly modest action potential duration shortening. These computational data thus corroborate findings from several genome-wide association studies that associated LITAF with QT interval variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18148-18159
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 25 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding and additional information—This work was supported by Grant 1059B191300954 from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (to N. N. T.), National Institutes of Health Grants R01HL110791, R01HL134706, and R01HL139467 (to G. K.), and Rhode Island Foundation Grant 701-7131778 (to K. S. M.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Turan et al.


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