Proteomic and metabolomic changes driven by elevating myocardial creatine suggest novel metabolic feedback mechanisms.
Zervou S., Yin X., Nabeebaccus AA., O'Brien BA., Cross RL., McAndrew DJ., Atkinson RA., Eykyn TR., Mayr M., Neubauer S., Lygate CA.
Mice over-expressing the creatine transporter have elevated myocardial creatine levels [Cr] and are protected against ischaemia/reperfusion injury via improved energy reserve. However, mice with very high [Cr] develop cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction. To investigate these contrasting effects, we applied a non-biased hypothesis-generating approach to quantify global protein and metabolite changes in the LV of mice stratified for [Cr] levels: wildtype, moderately elevated, and high [Cr] (65-85; 100-135; 160-250 nmol/mg protein, respectively). Male mice received an echocardiogram at 7 weeks of age with tissue harvested at 8 weeks. RV was used for [Cr] quantification by HPLC to select LV tissue for subsequent analysis. Two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis identified differentially expressed proteins, which were manually picked and trypsin digested for nano-LC-MS/MS. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed efficient group separation (ANOVA P ≤ 0.05) and peptide sequences were identified by mouse database (UniProt 201203) using Mascot. A total of 27 unique proteins were found to be differentially expressed between normal and high [Cr], with proteins showing [Cr]-dependent differential expression, chosen for confirmation, e.g. α-crystallin B, a heat shock protein implicated in cardio-protection and myozenin-2, which could contribute to the hypertrophic phenotype. Nuclear magnetic resonance (¹H-NMR at 700 MHz) identified multiple strong correlations between [Cr] and key cardiac metabolites. For example, positive correlations with α-glucose (r² = 0.45; P = 0.002), acetyl-carnitine (r² = 0.50; P = 0.001), glutamine (r² = 0.59; P = 0.0002); and negative correlations with taurine (r² = 0.74; P < 0.0001), fumarate (r² = 0.45; P = 0.003), aspartate (r² = 0.59; P = 0.0002), alanine (r² = 0.66; P < 0.0001) and phosphocholine (r² = 0.60; P = 0.0002). These findings suggest wide-ranging and hitherto unexpected adaptations in substrate utilisation and energy metabolism with a general pattern of impaired energy generating pathways in mice with very high creatine levels.