Into the heart: The emerging role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system

Monte S. Willis, Cam Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

102 Scopus citations


While the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in regulating cellular processes continues to expand, the elucidation of its role in cardiac disease is just beginning. The UPS regulates pivotal processes at all levels of cardiac biology: from membrane-associated ion channels and receptors to downstream signaling intermediates and transcription factors. Moreover, the role of the UPS in maintaining cardiac protein quality control is emerging, as exemplified by its multiple interactions with the cardiac sarcomere and role in familial cardiomyopathies. The diversity of UPS regulation lies in E3 ligases, which specifically recognize targets and direct the ubiquitination process. In the context of disease, E3 ligase expression affects the severity of disease in both ischemia reperfusion injury and cardiac hypertrophy in vivo by modulating signaling intermediates. In ischemia-reperfusion injury, the activities of CHIP and MDM2 (both with E3 ligase activity) profoundly affect apoptosis regulation and severity of disease. In cardiac hypertrophy, Atrogin1 and MuRF1 attenuate cardiac hypertrophy by interacting with calcineurin and PKCε, respectively. Additionally, MuRF1 and MDM2 interact with sarcomeric proteins (cTnI and Tcap, respectively) which may prove to be mechanisms by which hypertrophy is attenuated or protein quality modulated. All of these exciting new findings, however, must be taken in the context of disease regulation of the UPS components themselves. Key UPS components (e.g. ubiquitin, E1, E2, E3, proteasome) are themselves transcriptionally regulated in cardiac disease. Our understanding of the precise nature by which the UPS regulates key biological functions in cardiac disease has just begun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-579
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Atrogin1
  • CHIP
  • Cardiac
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart
  • Hypertrophy
  • Ischemia
  • MAFbx
  • MDM2
  • MuRF1
  • Proteasome
  • Review
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-proteasome system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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