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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Mar;294(3):H1335-47. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00584.2007. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Enhanced calcium cycling and contractile function in transgenic hearts expressing constitutively active G alpha o* protein.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Rhode Island Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


In contrast to the other heterotrimeric GTP-binding proteins (G proteins) Gs and Gi, the functional role of G o is still poorly defined. To investigate the role of G alpha o in the heart, we generated transgenic mice with cardiac-specific expression of a constitutively active form of G alpha o1* (G alpha o*), the predominant G alpha o isoform in the heart. G alpha o expression was increased 3- to 15-fold in mice from 5 independent lines, all of which had a normal life span and no gross cardiac morphological abnormalities. We demonstrate enhanced contractile function in G alpha o* transgenic mice in vivo, along with increased L-type Ca2+ channel current density, calcium transients, and cell shortening in ventricular G alpha o*-expressing myocytes compared with wild-type controls. These changes were evident at baseline and maintained after isoproterenol stimulation. Expression levels of all major Ca2+ handling proteins were largely unchanged, except for a modest reduction in Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in transgenic ventricles. In contrast, phosphorylation of the ryanodine receptor and phospholamban at known PKA sites was increased 1.6- and 1.9-fold, respectively, in G alpha o* ventricles. Density and affinity of beta-adrenoceptors, cAMP levels, and PKA activity were comparable in G alpha o* and wild-type myocytes, but protein phosphatase 1 activity was reduced upon G alpha o* expression, particularly in the vicinity of the ryanodine receptor. We conclude that G alpha o* exerts a positive effect on Ca2+ cycling and contractile function. Alterations in protein phosphatase 1 activity rather than PKA-mediated phosphorylation might be involved in hyperphosphorylation of key Ca2+ handling proteins in hearts with constitutive G alpha o activation.

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