Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor–Associated Factor 3 Is a Positive Regulator of Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy
Cardiac hypertrophy, a common early symptom of heart failure, is regulated by numerous signaling pathways. Here, we identified tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated factor 3 (TRAF3), an adaptor protein in tumor necrosis factor–related signaling cascades, as a key regulator of cardiac hypertrophy in response to pressure overload. TRAF3 expression was upregulated in hypertrophied mice hearts and failing human hearts. Four weeks after aortic banding, cardiac-specific conditional TRAF3-knockout mice exhibited significantly reduced cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, and dysfunction. Conversely, transgenic mice overexpressing TRAF3 in the heart developed exaggerated cardiac hypertrophy in response to pressure overload. TRAF3 also promoted an angiotensin II– or phenylephrine-induced hypertrophic response in isolated cardiomyocytes. Mechanistically, TRAF3 directly bound to TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1), causing increased TBK1 phosphorylation in response to hypertrophic stimuli. This interaction between TRAF3 and TBK1 further activated AKT signaling, which ultimately promoted the development of cardiac hypertrophy. Our findings not only reveal a key role of TRAF3 in regulating the hypertrophic response but also uncover TRAF3–TBK1–AKT as a novel signaling pathway in the development of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. This pathway may represent a potential therapeutic target for this pathological process.
- Received March 24, 2015.
- Revision received April 5, 2015.
- Accepted May 6, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.