Altered Expression of TMEM43 Causes Abnormal Cardiac Structure and Function in Zebrafish


Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an inherited heart muscle disease caused by heterozygous missense mutations within the gene encoding for the nuclear envelope protein transmembrane protein 43 (TMEM43). The disease is characterized by myocyte loss and fibro-fatty replacement, leading to life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. However, the role of TMEM43 in the pathogenesis of ACM remains poorly understood. In this study, we generated cardiomyocyte-restricted transgenic zebrafish lines that overexpress eGFP-linked full-length human wild-type (WT) TMEM43 and two genetic variants (c.1073C>T, p.S358L; c.332C>T, p.P111L) using the Tol2-system. Overexpression of WT and p.P111L-mutant TMEM43 was associated with transcriptional activation of the mTOR pathway and ribosome biogenesis, and resulted in enlarged hearts with cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Intriguingly, mutant p.S358L TMEM43 was found to be unstable and partially redistributed into the cytoplasm in embryonic and adult hearts. Moreover, both TMEM43 variants displayed cardiac morphological defects at juvenile stages and ultrastructural changes within the myocardium, accompanied by dysregulated gene expression profiles in adulthood. Finally, CRISPR/Cas9 mutants demonstrated an age-dependent cardiac phenotype characterized by heart enlargement in adulthood. In conclusion, our findings suggest ultrastructural remodeling and transcriptomic alterations underlying the development of structural and functional cardiac defects in TMEM43-associated cardiomyopathy.

Authors Zink M, Seewald A, Rohrbach M, Brodehl A, Liedtke D, Williams T, Childs SJ, Gerull B
Journal International journal of molecular sciences
Publication Date 2022 Aug 23;23(17)
PubMed 36076925
PubMed Central PMC9455580
DOI 10.3390/ijms23179530

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