Calcium (Ca2+) dysregulation is a hallmark of heart failure and is characterized by impaired Ca2+ sequestration into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) by the SR-Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA). We recently discovered a micropeptide named DWORF (DWarf Open Reading Frame) that enhances SERCA activity by displacing phospholamban (PLN), a potent SERCA inhibitor. Here we show that DWORF has a higher apparent binding affinity for SERCA than PLN and that DWORF overexpression mitigates the contractile dysfunction associated with PLN overexpression, substantiating its role as a potent activator of SERCA. Additionally, using a well-characterized mouse model of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) due to genetic deletion of the muscle-specific LIM domain protein (MLP), we show that DWORF overexpression restores cardiac function and prevents the pathological remodeling and Ca2+ dysregulation classically exhibited by MLP knockout mice. Our results establish DWORF as a potent activator of SERCA within the heart and as an attractive candidate for a heart failure therapeutic.
- cell biology
- heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)