In Drosophila, formation of the cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) starts during embryogenesis. Assembly and incorporation of structural proteins such as Collagen IV, Pericardin, and Laminin A, B1, and B2 into the cardiac ECM is critical to the maintenance of heart integrity and functionality and, therefore, to longevity of the animal. The cardiac ECM connects the heart tube with the alary muscles; thus, the ECM contributes to a flexible positioning of the heart within the animal's body. Moreover, the cardiac ECM holds the larval pericardial nephrocytes in close proximity to the heart tube and the inflow tract, which is assumed to be critical to efficient haemolymph clearance. Mutations in either structural ECM constituents or ECM receptors cause breakdown of the ECM network upon ageing, with disconnection of the heart tube from alary muscles becoming apparent at larval stages. Finally, the heart becomes non-functional. Here, we characterised existing and new pericardin mutants and investigated biosynthesis, secretion, and assembly of Pericardin in matrices. We identified two new pericardin alleles, which turned out to be a null (pericardin3-548) and a hypomorphic allele (pericardin3-21). Both mutants could be rescued with a genomic duplication of a fosmid coding for the pericardin locus. Biochemical analysis revealed that Pericardin is highly glycosylated and forms redox-dependent multimers. Multimer formation is remarkably reduced in animals deficient for the prolyl-4 hydroxylase cluster at 75D3-4.
Keywords: Cardiac matrix; Cardiogenesis; Cellular biology; Developmental biology; Dorsal vessel; Extracellular matrix; Heart; Pericardin.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.