In the mammalian heart, the left ventricle (LV) rapidly becomes more dominant in size and function over the right ventricle (RV) after birth. The molecular regulators responsible for this chamber-specific differential growth are largely unknown. We found that cardiomyocytes in the neonatal mouse RV had lower proliferation, more apoptosis, and a smaller average size compared with the LV. This chamber-specific growth pattern was associated with a selective activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity in the RV and simultaneous inactivation in the LV. Cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of both the Mapk14 and Mapk11 genes in mice resulted in loss of p38 MAPK expression and activity in the neonatal heart. Inactivation of p38 activity led to a marked increase in cardiomyocyte proliferation and hypertrophy but diminished cardiomyocyte apoptosis, specifically in the RV. Consequently, the p38-inactivated hearts showed RV-specific enlargement postnatally, progressing to pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure at the adult stage. Chamber-specific p38 activity was associated with differential expression of dual-specific phosphatases (DUSPs) in neonatal hearts, including DUSP26. Unbiased transcriptome analysis revealed that IRE1α/XBP1–mediated gene regulation contributed to p38 MAPK–dependent regulation of neonatal cardiomyocyte proliferation and binucleation. These findings establish an obligatory role of DUSP/p38/IRE1α signaling in cardiomyocytes for chamber-specific growth in the postnatal heart.
Tomohiro Yokota, Jin Li, Jijun Huang, Zhaojun Xiong, Qing Zhang, Tracey Chan, Yichen Ding, Christoph Rau, Kevin Sung, Shuxun Ren, Rajan Kulkarni, Tzung Hsiai, Xinshu Xiao, Marlin Touma, Susumu Minamisawa, Yibin Wang
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.