Increased expression of UBF is a critical determinant for rRNA synthesis and hypertrophic growth of cardiac myocytes

FASEB J. 2001 Sep;15(11):2051-3. doi: 10.1096/fj.01-0853fje. Epub 2001 Jul 9.


Recent evidence suggests that increased translational efficiency of existing ribosomes alone is insufficient to account for the hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes and that synthesis of new functional ribosomes must occur. The rate-limiting step in ribosome accumulation is the transcription of the ribosomal 45S genes (rDNA) by RNA polymerase I. Our previous studies have demonstrated that increases in the expression of the rDNA transcription factor UBF correlated with hypertrophy of neonatal cardiomyocytes. These studies expand this observation to examine directly the hypothesis that increased UBF levels are an essential requirement for the initiation of cardiac hypertrophy. We demonstrate that the introduction of UBF antisense RNA into myocytes, using adenovirus approaches, efficiently inhibits UBF accumulation during induction of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Moreover, this approach results in a significant reduction in rDNA transcription, rRNA levels, and protein accumulation, which are all the hallmarks of cardiac growth. Furthermore, UBF antisense RNA expression did not alter re-expression of the fetal gene program, which confirmed that the effect was specific for transcription by RNA polymerase I. These findings demonstrate that an increase in rRNA synthesis is required for hypertrophy of cardiomyocytes and also implicate UBF as a major regulatory factor in this process. Approaches that target UBF activity may be of therapeutic use in the regression of pathophysiological cardiac hypertrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviruses, Human
  • Adrenergic Agents / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-1 Receptor Agonists
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Pol1 Transcription Initiation Complex Proteins*
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Ribosomal / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Adrenergic alpha-1 Receptor Agonists
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Pol1 Transcription Initiation Complex Proteins
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1
  • Transcription Factors
  • transcription factor UBF
  • Phenylephrine