RATIONALE: The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) becomes dysfunctional as a result of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), which may lead to dysregulation of signaling pathways. Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) may prevent dysregulation by preventing UPS dysfunction through inhibition of oxidative damage. OBJECTIVE: Examine the hypothesis that early IPC preserves postischemic UPS function thus facilitating prosurvival signaling events. METHODS AND RESULTS: I/R decreased proteasome chymotryptic activity by 50% in isolated rat heart and an in vivo murine left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion model. Following IPC, proteasome activity was decreased 25% (P<0.05) in isolated heart and not different from baseline in the murine model. Enriched 26S proteasome was prepared and analyzed for protein carbonyl content. Increased (P<0.05) carbonylation in a 53-kDa band following I/R was diminished by IPC. Immunoprecipitation studies indicated that the 53-kDa carbonylation signal was of proteasomal origin. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis resolved the 53-kDa band into spots analyzed by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry containing Rpt3/Rpt5 both of which could be immunoprecipitated conjugated to dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH). Higher amounts of DNPH-tagged Rpt5 were immunoprecipitated from the I/R samples and less from the IPC samples. I/R increased Bax levels by 63% (P<0.05) which was decreased by IPC. Lactacystin (lac) pretreatment of preconditioned hearts increased Bax by 140% (P<0.05) and also increased ubiquitinated proteins. Pretreatment of hearts with a proteasome inhibitor reversed the effects of IPC on postischemic Rpt5 carbonylation, cardiac function, morphology and morphometry, and ubiquitinated and signaling proteins. CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest that IPC protects function of the UPS by diminishing oxidative damage to 19S regulatory particle subunits allowing this complex to facilitate degradation of proapoptotic proteins.
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