The regulation of the informational flow from the mitochondria to the nucleus (mitonuclear communication) is not fully characterized in the heart. We have determined that mitochondrial ribosomal protein S5 (MRPS5/uS5m) can regulate cardiac function and key pathways to coordinate this process during cardiac stress. We demonstrate that loss of Mrps5 in the developing heart leads to cardiac defects and embryonic lethality while postnatal loss induces cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. The structure and function of mitochondria is disrupted in Mrps5 mutant cardiomyocytes, impairing mitochondrial protein translation and OXPHOS. We identify Klf15 as a Mrps5 downstream target and demonstrate that exogenous Klf15 is able to rescue the overt defects and re-balance the cardiac metabolome. We further show that Mrps5 represses Klf15 expression through c-myc, together with the metabolite L-phenylalanine. This critical role for Mrps5 in cardiac metabolism and mitonuclear communication highlights its potential as a target for heart failure therapies.
© 2023. The Author(s).