Enhancing cardiomyocyte survival is crucial to blunt deterioration of myocardial structure and function following pathological damage. PIM1 (Proviral Insertion site in Murine leukemia virus (PIM) kinase 1) is a cardioprotective serine threonine kinase that promotes cardiomyocyte survival and antagonizes senescence through multiple concurrent molecular signaling cascades. In hematopoietic stem cells, PIM1 interacts with the receptor tyrosine kinase c-Kit upstream of the ERK (Extracellular signal-Regulated Kinase) and Akt signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation and survival. The relationship between PIM1 and c-Kit activity has not been explored in the myocardial context. This study delineates the interaction between PIM1 and c-Kit leading to enhanced protection of cardiomyocytes from stress. Elevated c-Kit expression is induced in isolated cardiomyocytes from mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of PIM1. Co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assay reveal protein-protein interaction between PIM1 and c-Kit. Following treatment with Stem Cell Factor, PIM1-overexpressing cardiomyocytes display elevated ERK activity consistent with c-Kit receptor activation. Functionally, elevated c-Kit expression confers enhanced protection against oxidative stress in vitro. This study identifies the mechanistic relationship between PIM1 and c-Kit in cardiomyocytes, demonstrating another facet of cardioprotection regulated by PIM1 kinase.
Keywords: PIM1; c-Kit; cardiomyocyte; cardioprotection.