CaMKII exacerbates heart failure progression by activating class I HDACs

Manling Zhang, Xue Yang, Raymond J. Zimmerman, Qin Wang, Mark A. Ross, Jonathan M. Granger, Elizabeth D. Luczak, Djahida Bedja, Hong Jiang, Ning Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Persistent cardiac Ca2+/calmodulin dependent Kinase II (CaMKII) activation plays an essential role in heart failure development. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying CaMKII induced heart failure progression remains incompletely understood. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are critical for transcriptional responses to stress, and contribute to expression of pathological genes causing adverse ventricular remodeling. Class I HDACs, including HDAC1, HDAC2 and HDAC3, promote pathological cardiac hypertrophy, whereas class IIa HDACs suppress cardiac hypertrophy. While it is known that CaMKII deactivates class IIa HDACs to enhance cardiac hypertrophy, the role of CaMKII in regulating class I HDACs during heart failure progression is unclear. Methods and results: CaMKII increases the deacetylase activity of recombinant HDAC1, HDAC2 and HDAC3 via in vitro phosphorylation assays. Phosphorylation sites on HDAC1 and HDAC3 are identified with mass spectrometry. HDAC1 activity is also increased in cardiac-specific CaMKIIδC transgenic mice (CaMKIIδC-tg). Beyond post-translational modifications, CaMKII induces HDAC1 and HDAC3 expression. HDAC1 and HDAC3 expression are significantly increased in CaMKIIδC-tg mice. Inhibition of CaMKII by overexpression of the inhibitory peptide AC3-I in the heart attenuates the upregulation of HDAC1 after myocardial infarction surgery. Importantly, a potent HDAC1 inhibitor Quisinostat improves downregulated autophagy genes and cardiac dysfunction in CaMKIIδC-tg mice. In addition to Quisinostat, selective class I HDACs inhibitors, Apicidin and Entinostat, HDAC3 specific inhibitor RGFP966, as well as HDAC1 and HDAC3 siRNA prevent CaMKII overexpression induced cardiac myocyte hypertrophy. Conclusion: CaMKII activates class I HDACs in heart failure, which may be a central mechanism for heart failure progression. Selective class I HDACs inhibition may be a novel therapeutic avenue to alleviate CaMKII hyperactivity induced cardiac dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Ca/calmodulin dependent Kinase II
  • Heart failure
  • Histone deacetylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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