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Connexin 43 phosphorylation by casein kinase 1 is essential for the cardioprotection by ischemic preconditioning

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Myocardial connexin 43 (Cx43) forms gap junctions and hemichannels, and is also present within subsarcolemmal mitochondria. The protein is phosphorylated by several kinases including mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), protein kinase C (PKC), and casein kinase 1 (CK1). A reduction in Cx43 content abrogates myocardial infarct size reduction by ischemic preconditioning (IPC). The present study characterizes the contribution of Cx43 phosphorylation towards mitochondrial function, hemichannel activity, and the cardioprotection by IPC in wild-type (WT) mice and in mice in which Cx43-phosphorylation sites targeted by above kinases are mutated to non-phosphorylatable residues (Cx43(MAPKmut), Cx43(PKCmut), and Cx43(CK1mut) mice). The amount of Cx43 in the left ventricle and in mitochondria was reduced in all mutant strains compared to WT mice and Cx43 phosphorylation was altered at residues not directly targeted by the mutations. Whereas complex 1 respiration was reduced in all strains, complex 2 respiration was decreased in Cx43(CK1mut) mice only. In Cx43 epitope-mutated mice, formation of reactive oxygen species and opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore were not affected. The hemichannel open probability was reduced in Cx43(PKCmut) and Cx43(CK1mut) but not in Cx43(MAPKmut) cardiomyocytes. Infarct size in isolated saline-perfused hearts after ischemia/reperfusion (45 min/120 min) was comparable between genotypes and was significantly reduced by IPC (3 x 3 min ischemia/5 min reperfusion) in WT, Cx43(MAPKmut), and Cx43(PKCmut), but not in Cx43(CK1mut) mice, an effect independent from the amount of Cx43 and the probability of hemichannel opening. Taken together, our study shows that alterations of Cx43 phosphorylation affect specific cellular functions and highlights the importance of Cx43 phosphorylation by CK1 for IPC's cardioprotection.
ISSN: 1435-1803
Issue: 1
Volume: 116