Recent studies suggest that metabolic regulation may improve differentiation of cardiomyocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master regulator of metabolic activities. We investigated whether AMPK participates in iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte differentiation. We observed that AMPK phosphorylation at Thr172 increased at day 9 but then decreased after day 11 of differentiation to cardiomyocytes. Inhibition of AMPK with compound C significantly reduced mRNA and protein expression of cardiac troponins TNNT2 and TNNI3. Moreover, sustained AMPK activation using AICAR from days 9 to 14 of differentiation increased mRNA and protein expression of both TNNT2 and TNNI3. AICAR decreased acetylation of histone 3 at Lys9 and 56 and histone 4 at Lys16 (known target sites for nuclear-localized sirtuins [SIRT1, SIRT6]), suggesting that AMPK activation enhances sirtuin activity. Sustained AMPK activation during days 9-14 of differentiation induces sirtuin-mediated histone deacetylation and may enhance cardiomyocyte differentiation from iPSCs.
Keywords: AMPK; histone acetylation; iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes; sirtuin.
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