Desmosomal protein degradation as an underlying cause of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy

Hoyee Tsui, Sebastiaan Johannes van Kampen, Su Ji Han, Viviana Meraviglia, Willem B van Ham, Simona Casini, Petra van der Kraak, Aryan Vink, Xiaoke Yin, Manuel Mayr, Alexandre Bossu, Gerard A Marchal, Jantine Monshouwer-Kloots, Joep Eding, Danielle Versteeg, Hesther de Ruiter, Karel Bezstarosti, Judith Groeneweg, Sjoerd J Klaasen, Linda W van LaakeJeroen A A Demmers, Geert J P L Kops, Christine L Mummery, Toon A B van Veen, Carol Ann Remme, Milena Bellin, Eva van Rooij

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an inherited progressive cardiac disease. Many patients with ACM harbor mutations in desmosomal genes, predominantly in plakophilin-2 (PKP2). Although the genetic basis of ACM is well characterized, the underlying disease-driving mechanisms remain unresolved. Explanted hearts from patients with ACM had less PKP2 compared with healthy hearts, which correlated with reduced expression of desmosomal and adherens junction (AJ) proteins. These proteins were also disorganized in areas of fibrotic remodeling. In vitro data from human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and microtissues carrying the heterozygous PKP2 c.2013delC pathogenic mutation also displayed impaired contractility. Knockin mice carrying the equivalent heterozygous Pkp2 c.1755delA mutation recapitulated changes in desmosomal and AJ proteins and displayed cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis with age. Global proteomics analysis of 4-month-old heterozygous Pkp2 c.1755delA hearts indicated involvement of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in ACM pathogenesis. Inhibition of the UPS in mutant mice increased area composita proteins and improved calcium dynamics in isolated cardiomyocytes. Additional proteomics analyses identified lysine ubiquitination sites on the desmosomal proteins, which were more ubiquitinated in mutant mice. In summary, we show that a plakophilin-2 mutation can lead to decreased desmosomal and AJ protein expression through a UPS-dependent mechanism, which preceded cardiac remodeling. These findings suggest that targeting protein degradation and improving desmosomal protein stability may be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of ACM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)eadd4248
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number688
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2023


  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Animals
  • Infant
  • Proteolysis
  • Plakophilins/genetics
  • Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism
  • Mutation/genetics
  • Cardiomyopathies/genetics


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