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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jun 8;287(24):20027-36. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.334953. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Engineered troponin C constructs correct disease-related cardiac myofilament calcium sensitivity.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Aberrant myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity is commonly observed with multiple cardiac diseases, especially familial cardiomyopathies. Although the etiology of the cardiomyopathies remains unclear, improving cardiac muscle Ca(2+) sensitivity through either pharmacological or genetic approaches shows promise of alleviating the disease-related symptoms. Due to its central role as the Ca(2+) sensor for cardiac muscle contraction, troponin C (TnC) stands out as an obvious and versatile target to reset disease-associated myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity back to normal. To test the hypothesis that aberrant myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity and its related function can be corrected through rationally engineered TnC constructs, three thin filament protein modifications representing different proteins (troponin I or troponin T), modifications (missense mutation, deletion, or truncation), and disease subtypes (familial or acquired) were studied. A fluorescent TnC was utilized to measure Ca(2+) binding to TnC in the physiologically relevant biochemical model system of reconstituted thin filaments. Consistent with the pathophysiology, the restrictive cardiomyopathy mutation, troponin I R192H, and ischemia-induced truncation of troponin I (residues 1-192) increased the Ca(2+) sensitivity of TnC on the thin filament, whereas the dilated cardiomyopathy mutation, troponin T ΔK210, decreased the Ca(2+) sensitivity of TnC on the thin filament. Rationally engineered TnC constructs corrected the abnormal Ca(2+) sensitivities of the thin filament, reconstituted actomyosin ATPase activity, and force generation in skinned trabeculae. Thus, the present study provides a novel and versatile therapeutic strategy to restore diseased cardiac muscle Ca(2+) sensitivity.

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