Research Article| Volume 233, P47-61, July 2021

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Different roles of BAG3 in cardiac physiological hypertrophy and pathological remodeling

Published:February 08, 2021DOI:
      Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. A stimulated heart undergoes either adaptive physiological hypertrophy, which can maintain a normal heart function, or maladaptive pathological remodeling, which can deteriorate heart function. These 2 kinds of remodeling often co-occur at the early stages of many heart diseases and have important effects on cardiac function. The Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) protein is highly expressed in the heart and has many functions. However, it is unknown how BAG3 is regulated and what its function is during physiological hypertrophy and pathological remodeling. We generated tamoxifen-induced, heart-specific heterozygous and homozygous BAG3 knockout mouse models (BAG3 protein level decreased by approximately 40% and 80% in the hearts after tamoxifen administration). BAG3 knockout models were subjected to swimming training or phenylephrine (PE) infusion to induce cardiac physiological hypertrophy and pathological remodeling. Neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRVCs) were used to study BAG3 functions and mechanisms in vitro. We found that BAG3 was upregulated in physiological hypertrophy and in pathological remodeling both in vivo and in vitro. Heterozygous or homozygous knockout BAG3 in mouse hearts and knockdown of BAG3 in the NRVCs blunted physiological hypertrophy and aggravated pathological remodeling, while overexpression of BAG3 promoted physiological hypertrophy and inhibited pathological remodeling in NRVCs. Mechanistically, BAG3 overexpression in NRVCs promoted physiological hypertrophy by activating the protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian (or mechanistic) target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. BAG3 knockdown in NRVCs aggravated pathological remodeling through activation of the calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells 2 (NFATc2) pathway. Because BAG3 has a dual role in cardiac remodeling, heart-specific regulation of BAG3 may be an effective therapeutic strategy to protect against deterioration of heart function and heart failure caused by many heart diseases.


      ACTA1 (skeletal α-actin), AKT (protein kinase B), α-MHC (α-myosin heavy chain), ANP (atrial natriuretic peptide), BAG3 (Bcl2-associated athanogene 3), β-MHC (Myh7, β-myosin heavy chain), Cre+Bag3+/+ (α-MHC-MerCreMer+Bag3+/+), Cre+Bag3+/f (α-MHC-MerCreMer+Bag3+/flox), Cre+Bag3f/f (α-MHC-MerCreMer+Bag3flox/flox), CM (Cardiomyocyte), 4E-BP1 (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1), HE (heterozygous), HO (homozygous), IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), KO (knockout), MerCreMer (tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase), mTOR (mammalian (mechanistic) target of rapamycin), NC (negative control), NFATC2 (nuclear factor of activated T cells 2), NRVC (neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocyte), PE (phenylephrine), PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase), SERCA (sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase), TMX (tamoxifen)
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