Estrada-Avilés R. et al.
Calsequestrin-2 (CASQ2) is the main Ca2+-binding protein inside the sarcoplasmic reticulum of cardiomyocytes. Previously, we demonstrated that MEF-2 and SRF binding sites within the human CASQ2 gene (hCASQ2) promoter region are functional in neonatal cardiomyocytes. In this work, we investigated if the calcineurin/NFAT pathway regulates hCASQ2 expression in neonatal cardiomyocytes. The inhibition of NFAT dephosphorylation with CsA or INCA-6, reduced both the luciferase activity of hCASQ2 promoter constructs (-3102/+176 bp and -288/+176 bp) and the CASQ2 mRNA levels in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Additionally, NFATc1 and NFATc3 over-expressing neonatal cardiomyocytes showed a 2-3-fold increase in luciferase activity of both hCASQ2 promoter constructs, which was prevented by CsA treatment. Site-directed mutagenesis of the -133 bp MEF-2 binding site prevented trans-activation of hCASQ2 promoter constructs induced by NFAT overexpression. Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed NFAT and MEF-2 enrichment within the -288 bp to +76 bp of the hCASQ2 gene promoter. Besides, a direct interaction between NFAT and MEF-2 proteins was demonstrated by protein co-immunoprecipitation experiments. Taken together, these data demonstrate that NFAT interacts with MEF-2 bound to the -133 bp binding site at the hCASQ2 gene promoter. In conclusion, in this work, we demonstrate that the Ca2+-calcineurin/NFAT pathway modulates the transcription of the hCASQ2 gene in neonatal cardiomyocytes.