Cardiac proteasome activity in muscle ring finger-1 null mice at rest and following synthetic glucocorticoid treatment

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Nov;301(5):E967-77. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00165.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 9.


Muscle ring finger-1 (MuRF1) is a muscle-specific E3 ubiquitin ligase that has been implicated in the regulation of cardiac mass through its control of the ubiquitin proteasome system. While it has been suggested that MuRF1 is required for cardiac atrophy, a resting cardiac phenotype has not been reported in mice with a null deletion [knockout (KO)] of MuRF1. Here, we report that MuRF1 KO mice have significantly larger hearts than age-matched wild-type (WT) littermates at ≥ 6 mo of age and that loss of cardiac mass can occur in the absence of MuRF1. The objective of this study was to determine whether changes in proteasome activity were responsible for the cardiac phenotypes observed in MuRF1 KO mice. Cardiac function, architecture, and proteasome activity were analyzed at rest and following 28 days of dexamethasone (Dex) treatment in 6-mo-old WT and MuRF1 KO mice. Echocardiography demonstrated normal cardiac function in the enlarged hearts in MURF1 KO mice. At rest, heart mass and cardiomyocyte diameter were significantly greater in MuRF1 KO than in WT mice. The increase in cardiac size in MuRF1 KO mice was related to a decrease in proteasome activity and an increase in Akt signaling relative to WT mice. Dex treatment induced a significant loss of cardiac mass in MuRF1 KO, but not WT, mice. Furthermore, Dex treatment resulted in an increase in proteasome activity in KO, but a decrease in WT, mice. In contrast, Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin signaling decreased in MuRF1 KO mice and increased in WT mice in response to Dex treatment. These findings demonstrate that MuRF1 plays an important role in regulating cardiac size through alterations in protein turnover and that MuRF1 is not required to induce cardiac atrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy / genetics
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Organ Size / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Rest / physiology
  • Tripartite Motif Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Tripartite Motif Proteins
  • Dexamethasone
  • Trim63 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex