DNA Damage and Nuclear Morphological Changes in Cardiac Hypertrophy Are Mediated by SNRK Through Actin Depolymerization

Circulation. 2023 Nov 14;148(20):1582-1592. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.123.066002. Epub 2023 Sep 18.


Background: Proper nuclear organization is critical for cardiomyocyte function, because global structural remodeling of nuclear morphology and chromatin structure underpins the development and progression of cardiovascular disease. Previous reports have implicated a role for DNA damage in cardiac hypertrophy; however, the mechanism for this process is not well delineated. AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) family of proteins regulates metabolism and DNA damage response (DDR). Here, we examine whether a member of this family, SNRK (SNF1-related kinase), which plays a role in cardiac metabolism, is also involved in hypertrophic remodeling through changes in DDR and structural properties of the nucleus.

Methods: We subjected cardiac-specific Snrk-/- mice to transaortic banding to assess the effect on cardiac function and DDR. In parallel, we modulated SNRK in vitro and assessed its effects on DDR and nuclear parameters. We also used phosphoproteomics to identify novel proteins that are phosphorylated by SNRK. Last, coimmunoprecipitation was used to verify Destrin (DSTN) as the binding partner of SNRK that modulates its effects on the nucleus and DDR.

Results: Cardiac-specific Snrk-/- mice display worse cardiac function and cardiac hypertrophy in response to transaortic banding, and an increase in DDR marker pH2AX (phospho-histone 2AX) in their hearts. In addition, in vitro Snrk knockdown results in increased DNA damage and chromatin compaction, along with alterations in nuclear flatness and 3-dimensional volume. Phosphoproteomic studies identified a novel SNRK target, DSTN, a member of F-actin depolymerizing factor proteins that directly bind to and depolymerize F-actin. SNRK binds to DSTN, and DSTN downregulation reverses excess DNA damage and changes in nuclear parameters, in addition to cellular hypertrophy, with SNRK knockdown. We also demonstrate that SNRK knockdown promotes excessive actin depolymerization, measured by the increased ratio of G-actin to F-actin. Last, jasplakinolide, a pharmacological stabilizer of F-actin, rescues the increased DNA damage and aberrant nuclear morphology in SNRK-downregulated cells.

Conclusions: These results indicate that SNRK is a key player in cardiac hypertrophy and DNA damage through its interaction with DSTN. This interaction fine-tunes actin polymerization to reduce DDR and maintain proper cardiomyocyte nuclear shape and morphology.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinases; Destrin; actins; hypertrophy, left ventricular; myocytes, cardiac.

MeSH terms

  • Actins* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cardiomegaly* / genetics
  • Cardiomegaly* / metabolism
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • Mice
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Chromatin
  • Snrk protein, mouse
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases