Junctophilin-2 gene therapy rescues heart failure by normalizing RyR2-mediated Ca(2+) release.


BACKGROUND: Junctophilin-2 (JPH2) is the primary structural protein for the coupling of transverse (T)-tubule associated cardiac L-type Ca channels and type-2 ryanodine receptors on the sarcoplasmic reticulum within junctional membrane complexes (JMCs) in cardiomyocytes. Effective signaling between these channels ensures adequate Ca-induced Ca release required for normal cardiac contractility. Disruption of JMC subcellular domains, a common feature of failing hearts, has been attributed to JPH2 downregulation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that adeno-associated virus type 9 (AAV9) mediated overexpression of JPH2 could halt the development of heart failure in a mouse model of transverse aortic constriction (TAC). METHODS AND RESULTS: Following TAC, a progressive decrease in ejection fraction was paralleled by a progressive decrease of cardiac JPH2 levels. AAV9-mediated expression of JPH2 rescued cardiac contractility in mice subjected to TAC. AAV9-JPH2 also preserved T-tubule structure. Moreover, the Ca(2+) spark frequency was reduced and the Ca(2+) transient amplitude was increased in AAV9-JPH2 mice following TAC, consistent with JPH2-mediated normalization of SR Ca(2+) handling. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that AAV9-mediated JPH2 gene therapy maintained cardiac function in mice with early stage heart failure. Moreover, restoration of JPH2 levels prevented loss of T-tubules and suppressed abnormal SR Ca(2+) leak associated with contractile failure following TAC. These findings suggest that targeting JPH2 might be an attractive therapeutic approach for treating pathological cardiac remodeling during heart failure.

International journal of cardiology