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Mechanical forces from cardiac contraction regulate cardiomyocyte myofilament maturation via the VCL-SSH1-CFL axis - 25 January 2022

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Speaker Dr Ryuichi Fukuda, School of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences, King’s College London

Host Elisabeth Ehler

Abstract Mechanical forces regulate cell behavior and tissue morphogenesis. During cardiac development, mechanical stimuli from the heartbeat are required for cardiomyocyte maturation, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we first show that the forces of the contracting heart regulate the localization and activation of the cytoskeletal protein vinculin (VCL), which we find to be essential for myofilament maturation. To further analyse the role of VCL in this process, we examined its interactome in contracting versus non-contracting cardiomyocytes and, in addition to several known interactors, including actin regulators, identified the slingshot protein phosphatase SSH1. We show how VCL recruits SSH1 and its effector, the actin depolymerizing factor cofilin (CFL), to regulate F-actin rearrangement and promote cardiomyocyte myofilament maturation. Overall, our results reveal that mechanical forces generated by cardiac contractility regulate cardiomyocyte maturation through the VCL-SSH1-CFL axis, providing further insight into how mechanical forces are transmitted intracellularly to regulate myofilament maturation.

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