Uta Wrackmeyer, Ulrike Lisewski, Fabian Freiberg, Joanna Kaldrack
CAR was cloned as a receptor used by adeno- and coxsackievirus to enter cells but its physiological role has remained obscure. Detailed information on the expression pattern such as upregulation surrounding myocardial infarction and a critical role in embryonic development (lethality in mid-gestation of the CAR knockout) are well established, but no information on its role in the adult heart has been available.
We have generated both tissue culture and animal models to study CAR’s function in cardiac remodeling, inflammatory cardiomyopathy, and basic cellular processes such as endocytosis and cell-cell contact formation.
Our preliminary data suggest a critical role of CAR in the conduction of electrical signals from the atria to the cardiac ventricle. The inducible heart-specific knockout of CAR has enabled us to completely block the entry of coxsackievirus into cardiomyocytes and prevent all signs of inflammatory cardiomyopathy.