Grueter looks for heart failure treatment target in cardiomyocyte behavior

Chad Grueter, PhD, associate professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, received a one-year, $154,500 grant from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to understand the role of protein coding gene, Cdk-19, in heart disease. Grueter’s new R03 project, “Cdk-19 Dependent Transcriptional Mechanisms in Cardiac Hypertrophy,” will examine the ways in which Cdk-19/Cdk-8 activity regulates cardiac gene expression during hypertensive heart failure.

“A fundamental goal in studying heart disease is to understand the mechanisms governing the transition between healthy and pathological cardiomyocytes,” Grueter said. “This grant will enable us to generate preliminary data testing the translational potential for targeting transcriptional pathways governing this process.”

Grueter hypothesizes that Cdk-19 activity is necessary for cardiomyocyte hypertrophic and hypertensive functional response. His project will determine the impact of Cdk-8/Cdk-19 on the physiological and biochemical actions of the cardiomyocytes and establish potential therapeutic targets for hypertension and heart failure treatment.

The Grueter lab studies many other transcriptional processes hindered by heart disease. In previous research, the lab has identified a novel transcriptional signaling pathway that mediates the heart’s regulation of whole-body metabolism. Along with Cdk-19 and other mediators, the lab studies MED13 and miR-208a, two genes that modify the heart’s ability to regulate systemic metabolism. 

“In the Grueter lab, we are really excited about this project because it combines genetic and pharmacological models that we have developed at Iowa to provide insight into basic biological processes, while also testing a novel therapeutic approach to treat heart disease,” Grueter said.

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