Ephrin-B1 Is a Novel Specific Component of the Lateral Membrane of the Cardiomyocyte and Is Essential for the Stability of Cardiac Tissue Architecture Cohesion

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Cardiac tissue cohesion relying on highly ordered cardiomyocytes (CM) interactions is critical because most cardiomyopathies are associated with tissue remodeling and architecture alterations.


Eph/ephrin system constitutes a ubiquitous system coordinating cellular communications which recently emerged as a major regulator in adult organs. We examined if eph/ephrin could participate in cardiac tissue cyto-organization.

Methods and Results:

We reported the expression of cardiac ephrin-B1 in both endothelial cells and for the first time in CMs where ephrin-B1 localized specifically at the lateral membrane. Ephrin-B1 knock-out (KO) mice progressively developed cardiac tissue disorganization with loss of adult CM rod-shape and sarcomeric and intercalated disk structural disorganization confirmed in CM-specific ephrin-B1 KO mice. CMs lateral membrane exhibited abnormal structure by electron microscopy and notably increased stiffness by atomic force microscopy. In wild-type CMs, ephrin-B1 interacted with claudin-5/ZO-1 complex at the lateral membrane, whereas the complex disappeared in KO/CM-specific ephrin-B1 KO mice. Ephrin-B1 deficiency resulted in decreased mRNA expression of CM basement membrane components and disorganized fibrillar collagen matrix, independently of classical integrin/dystroglycan system. KO/CM-specific ephrin-B1 KO mice exhibited increased left ventricle diameter and delayed atrioventricular conduction. Under pressure overload stress, KO mice were prone to death and exhibited striking tissue disorganization. Finally, failing CMs displayed downregulated ephrin-B1/claudin-5 gene expression linearly related to the ejection fraction.


Ephrin-B1 is necessary for cardiac tissue architecture cohesion by stabilizing the adult CM morphology through regulation of its lateral membrane. Because decreased ephrin-B1 is associated with molecular/functional cardiac defects, it could represent a new actor in the transition toward heart failure.

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