TRPC7 regulates the electrophysiological functions of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

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Background: Biological pacemakers consisting of pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are potentially useful for treating bradycardia. However, tachyarrhythmia caused by derived cardiomyocytes themselves is one of main barriers hampering their clinical translation. An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms underlying the spontaneous action potential (a.k.a. automaticity) might provide potential approaches to solve this problem. The aim of this project is to study the role of canonical transient receptor potential isoform 7 (TRPC7) channels in regulating the automaticity of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (ESC-CMs). Methods and results: By Western blotting, the expression of TRPC7 was found to be increased during the differentiation of mouse ESC-CMs (mESC-CMs). Adenovirus-mediated TRPC7 knockdown decreased while overexpression increased the frequency of Ca2+ transients (CaTs), local Ca2+ releases (LCRs), and action potentials (APs) as detected by confocal microscopy and whole-cell patch-clamping. TRPC7 was found to be positively associated with the activity of ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2), sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA), and sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX) but not hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (HCN), and inositol trisphosphate receptor (IP3R). Knockdown or overexpression of TRPC7 did not alter the expression of HCN4, Cav1.3, Cav3.1, Cav3.2, IP3R1, RyR2, and SERCA but positively regulated the phosphorylation of RyR2 at S2814 and phospholamban (PLN) at T17. Moreover, the positive regulation of APs by TRPC7 was Ca2+-dependent, as overexpression of N-terminus of TRPC7 (dominant negative of TRPC7) which diminished the Ca2+ permeability of TRPC7 decreased the AP frequency. Conclusions: TRPC7 regulates the automaticity of mESC-CMs through two mechanisms. On the one hand, TRPC7 positively regulates the intracellular Ca2+ clock through the regulation of activities of both RyR2 and SERCA; on the other hand, TRPC7 also positively regulates the membrane clock via its influence on NCX activity. Altogether, our study reveals that TRPC7 is a potential drug target to manipulate the action potential firing rate of pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte-based biological pacemakers to prevent tachyarrhythmia, a condition that might be encountered after transplantation.




Liu, X., Zhao, R., Ding, Q., Yao, X., & Tsang, S. Y. (2021). TRPC7 regulates the electrophysiological functions of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 12(1).

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