Angiotensin II Activates RhoA in Cardiac Myocytes: A Critical Role of RhoA in Angiotensin II-Induced Premyofibril Formation

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The organization of actin into striated fibers (myofibrils) is one of the major features of cardiac hypertrophy. However, its signal transduction mechanism is not well understood. Although Rho-family small G proteins have been implicated in actin organization in many cell types, it is not fully elucidated whether Rho mediates the organization of actin fibers by hypertrophic stimuli in cardiac myocytes. Therefore, we examined (1) whether Rho is activated by the hypertrophic stimulus, angiotensin II (Ang II), and (2) whether Rho mediates the Ang II-induced organization of actin fibers in cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Treatment of myocytes with Ang II caused a rapid formation of both striated (mature myofibrils) and nonstriated (premyofibrils) actin fibers within 30 minutes, as determined by phalloidin stainings of the polymerized actin and troponin T stainings. Immunoblot analyses and immunostainings have indicated that cardiac myocytes express RhoA, but RhoB is undetectable. In the control state, RhoA was observed predominantly in the cytosolic fraction, but it was translocated in part to the particulate fraction in response to Ang II, consistent with activation of RhoA by Ang II. Incubation of myocytes with exoenzyme C3 for 48 hours completely ADP-ribosylated Rho in vivo. The C3 treatment abolished formation of premyofibrils induced by Ang II, suggesting that Ang II causes premyofibril formation via a Rho-dependent mechanism. The Ang II-induced mature myofibril formation was only partly abolished by C3. Expression of constitutively active RhoA (V14RhoA) caused the formation of premyofibrils but not mature myofibrils. The C3 treatment inhibited Ang II-induced atrial natriuretic factor induction, whereas it had no effect on c-fos induction. These results indicate that RhoA is activated by Ang II and mediates the Ang II-induced formation of premyofibrils and induction of a subset of genes. Distinct signaling mechanisms seem to be responsible for striated mature myofibril formation by Ang II. (Circ Res. 1998;82:666-676.)

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