Cardiac atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) regulates arterial blood pressure, moderates cardiomyocyte growth, and stimulates angiogenesis and metabolism. ANP binds to the transmembrane guanylyl cyclase (GC) receptor, GC-A, to exert its diverse functions. This process involves a cGMP-dependent signaling pathway preventing pathological [Ca2+]i increases in myocytes. In chronic cardiac hypertrophy, however, ANP levels are markedly increased and GC-A/cGMP responses to ANP are blunted due to receptor desensitization. Here we show that, in this situation, ANP binding to GC-A stimulates a unique cGMP-independent signaling pathway in cardiac myocytes, resulting in pathologically elevated intracellular Ca2+ levels. This pathway involves the activation of Ca2+‐permeable transient receptor potential canonical 3/6 (TRPC3/C6) cation channels by GC-A, which forms a stable complex with TRPC3/C6 channels. Our results indicate that the resulting cation influx activates voltage-dependent L-type Ca2+ channels and ultimately increases myocyte Ca2+i levels. These observations reveal a dual role of the ANP/GC-A–signaling pathway in the regulation of cardiac myocyte Ca2+i homeostasis. Under physiological conditions, activation of a cGMP-dependent pathway moderates the Ca2+i-enhancing action of hypertrophic factors such as angiotensin II. By contrast, a cGMP-independent pathway predominates under pathophysiological conditions when GC-A is desensitized by high ANP levels. The concomitant rise in [Ca2+]i might increase the propensity to cardiac hypertrophy and arrhythmias.
Natural Sciences in General