Increased COUP-TFII expression in adult hearts induces mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in heart failure

Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 10;6:8245. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9245.


Mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic remodelling are pivotal in the development of cardiomyopathy. Here, we show that myocardial COUP-TFII overexpression causes heart failure in mice, suggesting a causal effect of elevated COUP-TFII levels on development of dilated cardiomyopathy. COUP-TFII represses genes critical for mitochondrial electron transport chain enzyme activity, oxidative stress detoxification and mitochondrial dynamics, resulting in increased levels of reactive oxygen species and lower rates of oxygen consumption in mitochondria. COUP-TFII also suppresses the metabolic regulator PGC-1 network and decreases the expression of key glucose and lipid utilization genes, leading to a reduction in both glucose and oleate oxidation in the hearts. These data suggest that COUP-TFII affects mitochondrial function, impairs metabolic remodelling and has a key role in dilated cardiomyopathy. Last, COUP-TFII haploinsufficiency attenuates the progression of cardiac dilation and improves survival in a calcineurin transgenic mouse model, indicating that COUP-TFII may serve as a therapeutic target for the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COUP Transcription Factor II / genetics*
  • COUP Transcription Factor II / metabolism
  • Calcineurin / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / genetics
  • Cell Respiration / genetics
  • Echocardiography
  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins / metabolism*
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • COUP Transcription Factor II
  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Calcineurin

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE63759