The ubiquitin ligase MuRF1 protects against cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury by its proteasome-dependent degradation of phospho-c-Jun

Hui Hua Li, Jie Du, Yong Na Fan, Mei Li Zhang, De Pei Liu, Luge Li, Pamela Lockyer, Eunice Y. Kang, Cam Patterson, Monte S. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Despite improvements in interventions of acute coronary syndromes, primary reperfusion therapies restoring blood flow to ischemic myocardium leads to the activation of signaling cascades that induce cardiomyocyte cell death. These signaling cascades, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways, activate cardiomyocyte death in response to both ischemia and reperfusion. We have previously identified muscle ring finger-1 (MuRF1) as a cardiac-specific protein that regulates cardiomyocyte mass through its ubiquitin ligase activity, acting to degrade sarcomeric proteins and inhibit transcription factors involved in cardiac hypertrophy signaling. To determine MuRF1's role in cardiac ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, cardiomyocytes in culture and intact hearts were challenged with I/R injury in the presence and absence of MuRF1. We found that MuRF1 is cardioprotective, in part, by its ability to prevent cell death by inhibiting Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling. MuRF1 specifically targets JNK's proximal downstream target, activated phospho-c-Jun, for degradation by the proteasome, effectively inhibiting downstream signaling and the induction of cell death. MuRF1's inhibitory affects on JNK signaling through its ubiquitin proteasome-dependent degradation of activated c-Jun is the first description of a cardiac ubiquitin ligase inhibiting mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. MuRF1's cardioprotection in I/R injury is attenuated in the presence of pharmacologic JNK inhibition in vivo, suggesting a prominent role of MuRF1's regulation of c-Jun in the intact heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1058
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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