Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy (LCM) is characterized by abnormal myocardial accumulation of lipids, including ceramide; however, the contribution of ceramide to the etiology of LCM is unclear. Here, we investigated the association of ceramide metabolism and ceramide-interacting proteins (CIPs) in LCM in the Drosophila heart model. We find that ceramide feeding or ceramide-elevating genetic manipulations are strongly associated with cardiac dilation and defects in contractility. High ceramide-associated LCM is prevented by inhibiting ceramide synthesis, establishing a robust model of direct ceramide-associated LCM, corroborating previous indirect evidence in mammals. We identified several CIPs from mouse heart and Drosophila extracts, including caspase activator Annexin-X, myosin chaperone Unc-45, and lipogenic enzyme FASN1, and remarkably, their cardiac-specific manipulation can prevent LCM. Collectively, these data suggest that high ceramide-associated lipotoxicity is mediated, in part, through altering caspase activation, sarcomeric maintenance, and lipogenesis, thus providing evidence for conserved mechanisms in LCM pathogenesis in mammals. Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy (LCM) is characterized by abnormal myocardial accumulation of lipids, including ceramide. Here, Walls et al. find that ceramide feeding or ceramide-elevating genetic manipulations induce LCM. They identified several ceramide-interacting proteins, whose subsequent cardiac-specific manipulation can prevent LCM by altering caspase activation, sarcomeric maintenance, and lipogenesis.
Walls, S. M., Cammarato, A., Chatfield, D. A., Ocorr, K., Harris, G. L., & Bodmer, R. (2018). Ceramide-Protein Interactions Modulate Ceramide-Associated Lipotoxic Cardiomyopathy. Cell Reports, 22(10), 2702–2715. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.02.034