Novel BAG3 Variants in African American Patients With Cardiomyopathy: Reduced β-Adrenergic Responsiveness in Excitation-Contraction

J Card Fail. 2020 Dec;26(12):1075-1085. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2020.09.009. Epub 2020 Sep 18.


Background: We reported 3 novel nonsynonymous single nucleotide variants of Bcl2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) in African Americans with heart failure (HF) that are associated with a 2-fold increase in cardiac events (HF hospitalization, heart transplantation, or death).

Methods and results: We expressed BAG3 variants (P63A, P380S, and A479V) via adenovirus-mediated gene transfer in adult left ventricular myocytes isolated from either wild-type (WT) or cardiac-specific BAG3 haploinsufficient (cBAG3+/-) mice: the latter to simulate the clinical situation in which BAG3 variants are only found on 1 allele. Compared with WT myocytes, cBAG3+/- myocytes expressed approximately 50% of endogenous BAG3 levels and exhibited decreased [Ca2+]i and contraction amplitudes after isoproterenol owing to decreased L-type Ca2+ current. BAG3 repletion with WT BAG3 but not P380S, A479V, or P63A/P380S variants restored contraction amplitudes in cBAG3+/- myocytes to those measured in WT myocytes, suggesting excitation-contraction abnormalities partly account for HF in patients harboring these mutants. Because P63A is near the WW domain (residues 21-55) and A479V is in the BAG domain (residues 420-499), we expressed BAG3 deletion mutants (Δ1-61 and Δ421-575) in WT myocytes and demonstrated that the BAG but not the WW domain was involved in enhancement of excitation-contraction by isoproterenol.

Conclusions: The BAG3 variants contribute to HF in African American patients partly by decreasing myocyte excitation-contraction under stress, and that both the BAG and PXXP domains are involved in mediating β-adrenergic responsiveness in myocytes.

Keywords: BAG3; adenovirus-mediated gene transfer; dilated cardiomyopathy; excitation–contraction coupling; isolated adult cardiac myocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Black or African American / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathies* / genetics
  • Heart Failure* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adrenergic Agents
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BAG3 protein, human
  • Bag3 protein, mouse
  • Isoproterenol