Deficiency in nebulin repeats of sarcomeric nebulette is detrimental for cardiomyocyte tolerance to exercise and biomechanical stress

Ramona M. Vejandla, Buyan Ochir Orgil, Neely R. Alberson, Ning Li, Undral Munkhsaikhan, Zaza Khuchua, Ruben Martherus, Evren U. Azeloglu, Fuyi Xu, Lu Lu, Jeffrey A. Towbin, Enkhsaikhan Purevjav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The actin-binding sarcomeric nebulette (NEBL) protein provides efficient contractile flexibility via interaction with desmin intermediate filaments. NEBL gene mutations affecting the nebulin repeat (NR) domain are known to induce cardiomyopathy. The study aimed to explore the roles of NEBL in exercise and biomechanical stress response. We ablated exon3 encoding the first NR of Nebl and created global Neblex3-/ex3- knockout mice. Cardiac function, structure, and transcriptome were assessed before and after a 4-wk treadmill regimen. A Nebl-based exercise signaling network was constructed using systems genetics methods. H9C2 and neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCs) expressing wild-type or mutant NEBL underwent cyclic mechanical strain. Neblex3-/ex3- mice demonstrated diastolic dysfunction with preserved systolic function at 6 mo of age. After treadmill running, 4-mo-old Neblex3-/ex3- mice developed concentric cardiac hypertrophy and left ventricular dilation compared with running Nebl þ / þ and sedentary Neblex3-/ex3- mice. Disturbance of sarcomeric Z-disks and thin filaments architecture and disruption of intercalated disks and mitochondria were found in exercised Neblex3-/ex3- mice. A Nebl-based exercise signaling network included Csrp3, Des, Fbox32, Jup, Myh6, and Myh7. Disturbed expression of TM1, DES, JUP, b-catenin, MLP, a-actinin2, and vinculin proteins was demonstrated. In H9C2 cells, NEBL was recruited into focal adhesions at 24-h poststrain and redistributed along with F-actin at 72-h poststrain, suggesting time-dependent redistribution of NEBL in response to strain. NEBL mutations cause desmin disorganization in NRCs upon stretch. We conclude that Nebl's NR ablation causes disturbed sarcomere, Z-disks, and desmin organization, and prevents NEBL redistribution to focal adhesions in cardiomyocytes, weakening cardiac tolerance to biomechanical stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2130-H2146
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Desmin intermediate filament
  • Exercise
  • Focal adhesion
  • Nebulette
  • Sarcomere


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