SENP5, a SUMO isopeptidase, induces apoptosis and cardiomyopathy Academic Article uri icon


  • Cardiomyopathy presents a major health issue and is a leading cause of heart failure. Although a subset of familial cardiomyopathy is associated with genetic mutations, over 50% of cardiomyopathy is defined as idiopathic, the mechanisms underlying which are under intensive investigation. SUMO conjugation is a dynamic posttranslational modification that can be readily reversed by the activity of sentrin-specific proteases (SENPs). However, whether SENPs are implicated in heart disease pathophysiology remains unexplored. We observed a significant increase in the level of SENP5, a SUMO isopeptidase, in human idiopathic failing hearts. To reveal whether it plays a role in the pathogenesis of cardiac muscle disorders, we used a gain-of-function approach to overexpress SENP5 in murine cardiomyocytes (SENP5 transgenic, SENP5-Tg). Overexpression of SENP5 led to cardiac dysfunction, accompanied by decreased cardiomyocyte proliferation and elevated apoptosis. The increase in apoptosis preceded other detectable pathological changes, suggesting its causal link to cardiomyopathy. Further examination of SENP5-Tg hearts unveiled a decrease in SUMO attachment to dynamin related protein (Drp1), a factor critical for mitochondrial fission. Correspondingly, the mitochondria of SENP5-Tg hearts at an early developmental stage were significantly larger compared with those in the control hearts, suggesting that desumoylation of Drp1 at least partially accounts for the cardiac phenotypes observed in the SENP5-Tg mice. Finally, overexpression of Bcl2 in SENP5-Tg hearts improved cardiac function of SENP5-Tg mice, further supporting the notion that SENP5 mainly targets mitochondrial function in vivo. Our findings demonstrate an important role of the desumoylation enzyme SENP5 in the development of cardiac muscle disorders, and point to the SUMO conjugation pathway as a potential target in the prevention/treatment of cardiomyopathy. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Mitochondria: From Basic Mitochondrial Biology to Cardiovascular Disease".

published proceedings

  • J Mol Cell Cardiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, E. Y., Zhang, Y. i., Beketaev, I., Segura, A. M., Yu, W., Xi, Y., Chang, J., & Wang, J.

citation count

  • 54

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Eun Young||Zhang, Yi||Beketaev, Ilimbek||Segura, Ana Maria||Yu, Wei||Xi, Yutao||Chang, Jiang||Wang, Jun

publication date

  • January 2015