UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The regulation of protein synthesis in adult rat cardiomyocytes Huang, Brandon Pei Han


Protein synthesis (mRNA) is tightly regulated under numerous conditions in cardiomyocytes. It can be activated by hormones such as insulin and also by other agents such as phenylephrine (PE) that activates hypertrophy in the heart. Cardiac hypertrophy involves an increase in the muscle mass of the heart, principally in the left ventricular muscle, and the increase is due to enlarged cell size, not increased cell number. A pivotal element of cardiac hypertrophy is an elevation in the rates of protein synthesis, which drives the increase in cell size causing hypertrophy. Unfortunately, we currently lack the understanding of the basic mechanisms that drives hyperactivated protein synthesis. Cardiac hypertrophy is clinically important because it is a major risk factor for heart failure. It initially serves as an adaptive response to increase cardiac output in response to higher demand, but ultimately leads to deterioration of contractility of the heart if hypertrophy is sustained. The main goal of this research project is to understand how hypertrophic agents, such as phenylephrine (PE), activate protein synthesis using adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes as a model. Specifically, this study focuses on how the translational initiation is controlled by upstream signalling pathways.

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