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Yulink, predicted from evolutionary analysis, is involved in cardiac function



The comparative evolutionary genomics analysis was used to study the functions of novel Ka/Ks-predicted human exons in a zebrafish model. The Yulink (MIOS, Entrez Gene: 54,468), a conserved gene from zebrafish to human with WD40 repeats at N-terminus, was identified and found to encode an 875 amino acid in human. The biological function of this Yulink gene in cardiomyocytes remains unexplored. The purpose of this study is to determine the involvement of Yulink in the functions of cardiomyocytes and to investigate its molecular regulatory mechanism.


Knockdown of Yulink was performed using morpholino or shRNA in zebrafish, mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes, and human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. The expression levels of mRNA and protein were quantified by qPCR and western blots. Other methods including DNA binding, ligand uptake, agonists treatment and Ca2+ imaging assays were used to study the molecular regulatory mechanism by Yulink. Statistical data were shown as mean ± SD or mean ± standard error.


The knockdown of yulink with three specific morpholinos in zebrafish resulted in cardiac dysfunctions with pericardial edema, decreased heart beats and cardiac output. The Yulink knockdown in mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes disrupted Ca2+ cycling, reduced DNA binding activity of PPARγ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) and resulted in a reduction of Serca2 (sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase 2) expression. Expression of Serca2 was up-regulated by PPARγ agonists and down-regulated by PPARγ-shRNA knockdown, suggesting that Yulink regulates SERCA2 expression through PPARγ in mouse HL-1 cardiomyocytes. On the other hand, YULINK, PPARγ or SERCA2 over-expression rescued the phenotypes of Yulink KD cells. In addition, knockdown of YULINK in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes also disrupted Ca2+ cycling via decreased SERCA2 expression.


Overall, our data showed that Yulink is an evolutionarily conserved gene from zebrafish to human. Mechanistically Yulink regulated Serca2 expression in cardiomyocytes, presumably mediated through PPARγ nuclear entry. Deficiency of Yulink in mouse and human cardiomyocytes resulted in irregular Ca2+ cycling, which may contribute to arrhythmogenesis.

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