Heart failure (HF) remains a major source of morbidity and mortality in the US. The multifunctional Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) has emerged as a critical regulator of cardiac hypertrophy and failure, although the mechanisms remain unclear. Previous studies have established that the cytoskeletal protein βIV-spectrin coordinates local CaMKII signaling. Here, we sought to determine the role of a spectrin-CaMKII complex in maladaptive remodeling in HF. Chronic pressure overload (6 weeks of transaortic constriction [TAC]) induced a decrease in cardiac function in WT mice but not in animals expressing truncated βIV-spectrin lacking spectrin-CaMKII interaction (qv3J mice). Underlying the observed differences in function was an unexpected differential regulation of STAT3-related genes in qv3J TAC hearts. In vitro experiments demonstrated that βIV-spectrin serves as a target for CaMKII phosphorylation, which regulates its stability. Cardiac-specific βIV-spectrin-KO (βIV-cKO) mice showed STAT3 dysregulation, fibrosis, and decreased cardiac function at baseline, similar to what was observed with TAC in WT mice. STAT3 inhibition restored normal cardiac structure and function in βIV-cKO and WT TAC hearts. Our studies identify a spectrin-based complex essential for regulation of the cardiac response to chronic pressure overload. We anticipate that strategies targeting the new spectrin-based "statosome" will be effective at suppressing maladaptive remodeling in response to chronic stress.
Keywords: Calcium signaling; Cardiology; Cytoskeleton; Heart failure.