Isoform changes of action potential regulators in the ventricles of arrhythmogenic phospholamban-R14del humanized mouse hearts

Metabolism. 2022 Nov 12;138:155344. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2022.155344. Online ahead of print.


Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is characterized by life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death and affects hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. The deletion of Arginine 14 (p.R14del) in the phospholamban (PLN) gene has been implicated in the pathogenesis of ACM. PLN is a key regulator of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ cycling and cardiac contractility. Despite global gene and protein expression studies, the molecular mechanisms of PLN-R14del ACM pathogenesis remain unclear. Using a humanized PLN-R14del mouse model and human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs), we investigated the transcriptome-wide mRNA splicing changes associated with the R14del mutation. We identified >200 significant alternative splicing (AS) events and distinct AS profiles were observed in the right (RV) and left (LV) ventricles in PLN-R14del compared to WT mouse hearts. Enrichment analysis of the AS events showed that the most affected biological process was associated with "cardiac cell action potential", specifically in the RV. We found that splicing of 2 key genes, Trpm4 and Camk2d, which encode proteins regulating calcium homeostasis in the heart, were altered in PLN-R14del mouse hearts and human iPSC-CMs. Bioinformatical analysis pointed to the tissue-specific splicing factors Srrm4 and Nova1 as likely upstream regulators of the observed splicing changes in the PLN-R14del cardiomyocytes. Our findings suggest that aberrant splicing may affect Ca2+-homeostasis in the heart, contributing to the increased risk of arrythmogenesis in PLN-R14del ACM.

Keywords: Alternative splicing; Arrhythmia; Cardiomyopathy; Genomics; Microexons.