Nε-lysine acetylation determines dissociation from GAP junctions and lateralization of connexin 43 in normal and dystrophic heart

Claudia Colussi, Jessica Rosati, Stefania Straino, Francesco Spallotta, Roberta Berni, Donatella Stilli, Stefano Rossi, Ezio Musso, Emilio Macchi, Antonello Mai, Gianluca Sbardella, Sabrina Castellano, Cristina Chimenti, Andrea Frustaci, Angela Nebbioso, Lucia Altucci, Maurizio C. Capogrossi, Carlo Gaetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wanting to explore the epigenetic basis of Duchenne cardiomyopathy, we found that global histone acetylase activity was abnormally elevated and the acetylase P300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) coimmunoprecipitated with connexin 43 (Cx43), which was Nε-lysine acetylated and lateralized in mdx heart. This observation was paralleled by Cx43 dissociation from N-cadherin and zonula occludens 1, whereas pp60-c-Src association was unaltered. In vivo treatment of mdx with the pan-histone acetylase inhibitor anacardic acid significantly reduced Cx43 Nε-lysine acetylation and restored its association to GAPjunctions (GJs) at intercalated discs. Noteworthy, in normal as well asmdxmice, the class IIa histone deacetylases 4 and 5 constitutively colocalized with Cx43 either at GJs or in the lateralized compartments. The class I histone deacetylase 3wasalso part of the complex. Treatment of normal controls with the histone deacetylase pan-inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (MC1568) or the class IIa-selective inhibitor 3-{4-[3-(3-fluorophenyl)-3-oxo-1-propen-1-yl]-1-methyl-1H-pyrrol-2-yl} -N-hydroxy-2-propenamide (MC1568) determined Cx43 hyperacetylation, dissociation from GJs, and distribution along the long axis of ventricular cardiomyocytes. Consistently, the histone acetylase activator pentadecylidenemalonate 1b (SPV106) hyperacetylated cardiac proteins, including Cx43, which assumed a lateralized position that partly reproduced the dystrophic phenotype. In the presence of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, cell to cell permeabilitywas significantly diminished, which is in agreement with a Cx43 close conformation in the consequence of hyperacetylation. Additional experiments, performed with Cx43 acetylation mutants, revealed, for the acetylated form of the molecule, a significant reduction in plasma membrane localization and a tendency to nuclear accumulation. These results suggest that Cx43 Nε-lysine acetylation may have physiopathological consequences for cell to cell coupling and cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2795-2800
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2011


  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Protein acetylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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