The Role of Ubiquitin/Proteasome System in Heart Failure

Heart failure is a disorder in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently. Despite recent advances in treatment, heart failure remains the leading cause of death in Canada. One in four Canadians suffers from heart disease, and more than 70,000 Canadians die from heart diseases each year. Treatment of heart failure is a major economic and social burden. The proteasome is a large multiprotein complex found in all cells, which breaks down unwanted or damaged proteins that have been “tagged” for elimination with a small protein called ubiquitin. The ubiquitin/proteasome system contributes to many cellular functions, including cell division, quality control of newly-produced proteins, and immune defense. Impairment of this system has been linked to several diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It may also play a role in the development of heart failure. Tse Yuan Wong’s research is exploring the contribution of the ubiquitin/proteasome system to heart failure. This involves examining the functional changes of this system in heart failure and determining how it is regulated. He will also explore how disturbed proteasome function affects the progression of heart failure. This study will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms of heart failure, which could lead to novel therapeutic strategies that could have a huge impact on health care in Canada.