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Schinner, Camilla; Erber, Bernd Markus; Yeruva, Sunil; Schlipp, Angela; Roetzer, Vera; Kempf, Ellen; Kant, Sebastian; Leube, Rudolf E.; Müller, Thomas D.; Waschke, Jens (2020): Stabilization of desmoglein-2 binding rescues arrhythmia in arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. In: Jci Insight, Vol. 5, No. 9, e130141
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Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC) is a genetic disease causing arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death with only symptomatic therapy available at present. Mutations of desmosomal proteins, including desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) and plakoglobin (Pg), are the major cause of AC and have been shown to lead to impaired gap junction function. Recent data indicated the involvement of anti-Dsg2 autoantibodies in AC pathogenesis. We applied a peptide to stabilize Dsg2 binding similar to a translational approach to pemphigus, which is caused by anti-desmoglein autoantibodies. We provide evidence that stabilization of Dsg2 binding by a linking peptide (Dsg2-LP) is efficient to rescue arrhythmia in an AC mouse model immediately upon perfusion. Dsg2-LP, designed to cross-link Dsg2 molecules in proximity to the known binding pocket, stabilized Dsg2-mediated interactions on the surface of living cardiomyocytes as revealed by atomic force microscopy and induced Dsg2 oligomerization. Moreover, Dsg2-LP rescued disrupted cohesion induced by siRNA-mediated Pg or Dsg2 depletion or i-tryptophan, which was applied to impair overall cadherin binding. Dsg2-LP rescued connexin-43 mislocalization and conduction irregularities in response to impaired cardiomyocyte cohesion. These results demonstrate that stabilization of Dsg2 binding by Dsg2-LP can serve as a novel approach to treat arrhythmia in patients with AC.