Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways couple intrinsic and extrinsic signals to hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes. The MAPK kinase MEK5 activates the MAPK ERK5. To investigate the potential involvement of MEK5-ERK5 in cardiac hypertrophy, we expressed constitutively active and dominant-negative forms of MEK5 in cardiomyocytes in vitro. MEK5 induced a form of hypertrophy in which cardiomyocytes acquired an elongated morphology and sarcomeres were assembled in a serial manner. The cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), which stimulates MEK5 activity, evoked a similar response. Moreover, a dominant-negative MEK5 mutant specifically blocked LIF-induced elongation of cardiomyocytes and reduced expression of fetal cardiac genes without blocking other aspects of LIF-induced hypertrophy. Consistent with the ability of MEK5 to induce serial assembly of sarcomeres in vitro, cardiac-specific expression of activated MEK5 in transgenic mice resulted in eccentric cardiac hypertrophy that progressed to dilated cardiomyopathy and sudden death. These findings reveal a specific role for MEK5-ERK5 in the induction of eccentric cardiac hypertrophy and in transduction of cytokine signals that regulate serial sarcomere assembly.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Leukemia inhibitory factor
- Mitogen-activated protein kinase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)