Sugar chain abnormalities in glycolipids and glycoproteins are associated with various diseases. Here, we report an adult onset cardiac dilatation in a transgenic mouse line with Galβ1,3GalNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase II (ST3Gal-II) transgenes. The transgenic hearts at the end-stage, at around 7 months old, were enlarged, with enlarged cavities and thin, low-tensile walls, typical of dilated cardiomyopathy. Although no apparent change was found in heart gangliosides, glycosylation of heart proteins was altered. Interestingly, sugar moieties not directly related to the ST3Gal-II catalytic reaction were also changed. Significant increases in calreticulin and calnexin were observed in hearts of the transgenic mice. These results suggest that expression of ST3Gal-II transgenes induces abnormal protein glycosylation, which disorganizes the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum quality control system and elevates the calreticulin/calnexin level, resulting in suppression of cardiac function. The transgenic mice showed 100% incidence of adult onset cardiac dilatation, suggesting great potential as a new model for dilated cardiomyopathy.
(Communicated by Kunihiko SUZUKI, M.J.A.)
2011 The Japan Academy