Loss of the Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2α Kinase General Control Nonderepressible 2 Kinase Protects Mice From Pressure Overload–Induced Congestive Heart Failure Without Affecting Ventricular Hypertrophy
In response to several stresses, including nutrient deprivation, general control nonderepressible 2 kinase (GCN2) attenuates mRNA translation by phosphorylating eukaryotic initiation factor 2αSer51. Energy starvation is known to exacerbate congestive heart failure, and eukaryotic initiation factor 2αSer51 phosphorylation is increased in the failing heart. However, the effect of GCN2 during the evolution of congestive heart failure has not been tested. In this study, we examined the influence of GCN2 expression in response to a cardiac stress by inducing chronic pressure overload with transverse aortic constriction in wild-type and GCN2 knockout mice. Under basal conditions, GCN2 knockout mice had normal left ventricular structure and function, but after transverse aortic constriction, they demonstrated less contractile dysfunction, less increase in lung weight, less increase in lung inflammation and vascular remodeling, and less myocardial apoptosis and fibrosis compared with wild-type mice, despite an equivalent degree of left ventricular hypertrophy. As expected, GCN2 knockout attenuated transverse aortic constriction–induced cardiac eukaryotic initiation factor 2αSer51 phosphorylation and preserved sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase expression compared with wild-type mice. Interestingly, the expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 was significantly elevated in GCN2 knockout hearts, whereas in isolated neonatal cardiomyocytes, selective knockdown of GCN2 increased Bcl-2 protein expression and enhanced myocyte resistance to an apoptotic stress. Collectively, our data support the notion that GCN2 impairs the ventricular adaptation to chronic pressure overload by reducing Bcl-2 expression and increasing cardiomyocyte susceptibility to apoptotic stimuli. Our findings suggest that strategies to reduce GCN2 activity in cardiac tissue may be a novel approach to attenuate congestive heart failure development.
- Received August 29, 2013.
- Revision received September 5, 2013.
- Accepted October 1, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.