G Protein–Coupled Receptor Kinase 2: A Link Between Myocardial Contractile Function and Cardiac Metabolism

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Abstract

Heart failure (HF) causes a tremendous burden on the worldwide healthcare system, affecting >23 million people. There are many cardiovascular disorders that contribute to the development of HF and multiple risk factors that accelerate its occurrence, but regardless of its underlying cause, HF is characterized by a marked decrease in myocardial contractility and loss of pump function. One biomarker molecule consistently shown to be upregulated in human HF and several animal models is G protein–coupled receptor kinase-2 (GRK2), a kinase originally discovered to be involved in G protein–coupled receptor desensitization, especially β-adrenergic receptors. Higher levels of GRK2 can impair β-adrenergic receptor–mediated inotropic reserve and its inhibition, or molecular reduction has shown to improve pump function in several animal models including a preclinical pig model of HF. Recently, nonclassical roles for GRK2 in cardiovascular disease have been described, including negative regulation of insulin signaling, a role in myocyte cell survival and apoptotic signaling, and it has been shown to be localized in/on mitochondria. These new roles of GRK2 suggest that GRK2 may be a nodal link in the myocyte, influencing both cardiac contractile function and cell metabolism and survival and contributing to HF independent of its canonical role in G protein–coupled receptor desensitization. In this review, classical and nonclassical roles for GRK2 will be discussed, focusing on recently discovered roles for GRK2 in cardiomyocyte metabolism and the effects that these roles may have on myocardial contractile function and HF development.

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