The cardiac translational landscape reveals that micropeptides are new players involved in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy

Mol Ther. 2021 Jul 7;29(7):2253-2267. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.03.004. Epub 2021 Mar 5.


Hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes is one of the major compensatory responses in the heart after physiological or pathological stimulation. Protein synthesis enhancement, which is mediated by the translation of messenger RNAs, is one of the main features of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Although the transcriptome shift caused by cardiac hypertrophy induced by different stimuli has been extensively investigated, translatome dynamics in this cellular process has been less studied. Here, we generated a nucleotide-resolution translatome as well as transcriptome data from isolated primary cardiomyocytes undergoing hypertrophy. More than 10,000 open reading frames (ORFs) were detected from the deep sequencing of ribosome-protected fragments (Ribo-seq), which orchestrated the shift of the translatome in hypertrophied cardiomyocytes. Our data suggest that rather than increase the translational rate of ribosomes, the increased efficiency of protein synthesis in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was attributable to an increased quantity of ribosomes. In addition, more than 100 uncharacterized short ORFs (sORFs) were detected in long noncoding RNA genes from Ribo-seq with potential of micropeptide coding. In a random test of 15 candidates, the coding potential of 11 sORFs was experimentally supported. Three micropeptides were identified to regulate cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by modulating the activities of oxidative phosphorylation, the calcium signaling pathway, and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Our study provides a genome-wide overview of the translational controls behind cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and demonstrates an unrecognized role of micropeptides in cardiomyocyte biology.

Keywords: Ribo-seq; cardiac hypertrophy; micropeptide; noncoding RNA; short open reading frame; translational landscape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cardiomegaly / etiology
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism
  • Cardiomegaly / pathology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Genome
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology*
  • Open Reading Frames*
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Ribosomes
  • Transcriptome


  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases