Oxidative Stress Pathogenically Remodels The Cardiac Myocyte Cytoskeleton Via Structural Alterations To The Microtubule Lattice
In the failing heart, the cardiac myocyte microtubule network is remodeled, which increases cellular stiffness and disrupts contractility, contributing to heart failure and death. However, the origins of this deleterious cytoskeletal reorganization are unknown. We now find that oxidative stress, a condition characteristic of failing heart cells, leads to cysteine oxidation of microtubules. Further, our electron and fluorescence microscopy experiments revealed regions of structural damage within the oxidized microtubule lattice. These damaged regions led to the lengthening, realignment, and acetylation of dynamic microtubules within cardiac myocytes. Thus, we found that oxidative stress acts inside of cardiac myocytes to facilitate a dramatic, pathogenic shift from a dynamic, multifaceted microtubule network into a highly acetylated, longitudinally aligned, and static microtubule network. Our results demonstrate how a disease condition characterized by oxidative stress can trigger a molecular oxidation event, which propagates a toxic cellular-scale transformation of the cardiac myocyte microtubule network.