Silencing of CCR4-NOT complex subunits affects heart structure and function

Lisa Elmén, Claudia B. Volpato, Anaïs Kervadec, Santiago Pineda, Sreehari Kalvakuri, Nakissa N. Alayari, Luisa Foco, Peter P. Pramstaller, Karen Ocorr, Alessandra Rossini, Anthony Cammarato, Alexandre R. Colas, Andrew A. Hicks, Rolf Bodmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The identification of genetic variants that predispose individuals to cardiovascular disease and a better understanding of their targets would be highly advantageous. Genome-wide association studies have identified variants that associate with QT-interval length (a measure of myocardial repolarization). Three of the strongest associating variants (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) are located in the putative promotor region of CNOT1, a gene encoding the central CNOT1 subunit of CCR4-NOT: a multifunctional, conserved complex regulating gene expression and mRNA stability and turnover. We isolated the minimum fragment of the CNOT1 promoter containing all three variants from individuals homozygous for the QT risk alleles and demonstrated that the haplotype associating with longer QT interval caused reduced reporter expression in a cardiac cell line, suggesting that reduced CNOT1 expression might contribute to abnormal QT intervals. Systematic siRNA-mediated knockdown of CCR4-NOT components in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) revealed that silencing CNOT1 and other CCR4-NOT genes reduced their proliferative capacity. Silencing CNOT7 also shortened action potential duration. Furthermore, the cardiac-specific knockdown of Drosophila orthologs of CCR4-NOT genes in vivo (CNOT1/Not1 and CNOT7/8/Pop2) was either lethal or resulted in dilated cardiomyopathy, reduced contractility or a propensity for arrhythmia. Silencing CNOT2/Not2, CNOT4/Not4 and CNOT6/6L/twin also affected cardiac chamber size and contractility. Developmental studies suggested that CNOT1/Not1 and CNOT7/8/Pop2 are required during cardiac remodeling from larval to adult stages. To summarize, we have demonstrated how disease-associated genes identified by GWAS can be investigated by combining human cardiomyocyte cell-based and whole-organism in vivo heart models. Our results also suggest a potential link of CNOT1 and CNOT7/8 to QT alterations and further establish a crucial role of the CCR4-NOT complex in heart development and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdmm044727
JournalDMM Disease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Arrhythmia
  • CNOT1
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Drosophila heart
  • GWAS
  • HiPSC
  • Long-QT syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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