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Biophys J. 2011 Mar 2;100(5):1216-25. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.01.024.

Modeling Ca2+ dynamics of mouse cardiac cells points to a critical role of SERCA's affinity for Ca2+.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular Transport Systems, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.


The SERCA2a isoform of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) pumps is specifically expressed in the heart, whereas SERCA2b is the ubiquitously expressed variant. It has been shown previously that replacement of SERCA2a by SERCA2b in mice (SERCA2(b/b) mice) results in only a moderate functional impairment, whereas SERCA activity is decreased by a 40% lower SERCA protein expression and by increased inhibition by phospholamban. To find out whether the documented kinetic differences in SERCA2b relative to SERCA2a (i.e., a twofold higher apparent Ca(2+) affinity, but twofold lower maximal turnover rate) can explain these compensatory changes, we simulated Ca(2+) dynamics in mouse ventricular myocytes. The model shows that the relative Ca(2+) transport capacity of SERCA2a and SERCA2b depends on the SERCA concentration. The simulations point to a dominant effect of SERCA2b's higher Ca(2+) affinity over its lower maximal turnover rate. The results suggest that increased systolic and decreased diastolic Ca(2+) levels in unstimulated conditions could contribute to the downregulation of SERCA in SERCA2(b/b) mice. In stress conditions, Ca(2+) handling is less efficient by SERCA2b than by SERCA2a, which might contribute to the observed hypertrophy in SERCA2(b/b) mice. Altogether, SERCA2a might be a better compromise between performance in basal conditions and performance during β-adrenergic stress.

Copyright © 2011 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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