Cardiomyocyte PKA Ablation Enhances Basal Contractility while Eliminates Cardiac β-Adrenergic Response without Adverse Effects on the Heart

Ying Zhang, Wei Eric Wang, Xiaoying Zhang, Ying Li, Biyi Chen, Chong Liu, Xiaojie Ai, Xiaoxiao Zhang, Ying Tian, Chen Zhang, Mingxin Tang, Christopher Szeto, Xiang Hua, Mingxin Xie, Chunyu Zeng, Yingjie Wu, Lin Zhou, Weizhong Zhu, Daohai Yu, Steven R. HouserXiongwen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Rationale: PKA (Protein Kinase A) is a major mediator of β-AR (β-adrenergic) regulation of cardiac function, but other mediators have also been suggested. Reduced PKA basal activity and activation are linked to cardiac diseases. However, how complete loss of PKA activity impacts on cardiac physiology and if it causes cardiac dysfunction have never been determined. Objectives: We set to determine how the heart adapts to the loss of cardiomyocyte PKA activity and if it elicits cardiac abnormalities. Methods and Results: (1) Cardiac PKA activity was almost completely inhibited by expressing a PKA inhibitor peptide in cardiomyocytes (cPKAi) in mice; (2) cPKAi reduced basal phosphorylation of 2 myofilament proteins (TnI [troponin I] and cardiac myosin binding protein C), and one longitudinal SR (sarcoplasmic reticulum) protein (PLB [phospholamban]) but not of the sarcolemmal proteins (Cav1.2 α1c and PLM [phospholemman]), dyadic protein RyR2, and nuclear protein CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) at their PKA phosphorylation sites; (3) cPKAi increased the expression of CaMKII (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II), the Cav1.2 β subunits and current, but decreased CaMKII phosphorylation and CaMKII-mediated phosphorylation of PLB and RyR2; (4) These changes resulted in significantly enhanced myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity, prolonged contraction, slowed relaxation but increased myocyte Ca2+ transient and contraction amplitudes; (5) Isoproterenol-induced PKA and CaMKII activation and their phosphorylation of proteins were prevented by cPKAi; (6) cPKAi abolished the increases of heart rate, and cardiac and myocyte contractility by a β-AR agonist (isoproterenol), showing an important role of PKA and a minimal role of PKA-independent β-AR signaling in acute cardiac regulation; (7) cPKAi mice have partial exercise capability probably by enhancing vascular constriction and ventricular filling during β-AR stimulation; and (8) cPKAi mice did not show any cardiac functional or structural abnormalities during the 1-year study period. Conclusions: PKA activity suppression induces a unique Ca2+ handling phenotype, eliminates β-AR regulation of heart rates and cardiac contractility but does not cause cardiac abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1760-1777
Number of pages18
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • beta-adrenergic
  • calcium
  • cardiomyopathies
  • heart rate
  • protein kinases


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