Cardiac-specific loss of N-cadherin leads to alteration in connexins with conduction slowing and arrhythmogenesis

Jifen Li, Vickas V. Patel, Igor Kostetskii, Yanming Xiong, Antony F. Chu, Jason T. Jacobson, Cindy Yu, Gregory E. Morley, Jeffery D. Molkentin, Glenn L. Radice

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190 Scopus citations


The remodeling of ventricular gap junctions, as defined by changes in size, distribution, or function, is a prominent feature of diseased myocardium. However, the regulation of assembly and maintenance of gap junctions remains poorly understood. To investigate N-cadherin function in the adult myocardium, we used a floxed N-cadherin gene in conjunction with a cardiac-specific tamoxifen-inducible Cre transgene. The mutant animals appeared active and healthy until their sudden death ≈2 months after deleting N-cadherin from the heart. Electrophysiologic analysis revealed abnormal conduction in the ventricles of mutant animals, including diminished QRS complex amplitude consistent with loss of electrical coupling in the myocardium. A significant decrease in the gap junction proteins, connexin-43 and connexin-40, was observed in N-cadherin-depleted myocytes. Perturbation of connexin function resulted in decreased ventricular conduction velocity, as determined by optical mapping. Our data suggest that perturbation of the N-cadherin/catenin complex in heart disease may be an underlying cause, leading to the establishment of the arrythmogenic substrate by destabilizing gap junctions at the cell surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Cell adhesion
  • Conditional knockout
  • Gap junctions


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