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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2012 May;33(1):17-30. doi: 10.1007/s10974-012-9292-y. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Pathogenic properties of the N-terminal region of cardiac myosin binding protein-C in vitro.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


Cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) plays a role in sarcomeric structure and stability, as well as modulating heart muscle contraction. The 150 kDa full-length (FL) cMyBP-C has been shown to undergo proteolytic cleavage during ischemia-reperfusion injury, producing an N-terminal 40 kDa fragment (mass 29 kDa) that is predominantly associated with post-ischemic contractile dysfunction. Thus far, the pathogenic properties of such truncated cMyBP-C proteins have not been elucidated. In the present study, we hypothesized that the presence of these 40 kDa fragments is toxic to cardiomyocytes, compared to the 110 kDa C-terminal fragment and FL cMyBP-C. To test this hypothesis, we infected neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes and adult rabbit ventricular cardiomyocytes with adenoviruses expressing the FL, 110 and 40 kDa fragments of cMyBP-C, and measured cytotoxicity, Ca(2+) transients, contractility, and protein-protein interactions. Here we show that expression of 40 kDa fragments in neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes significantly increases LDH release and caspase 3 activity, significantly reduces cell viability, and impairs Ca(2+) handling. Adult cardiomyocytes expressing 40 kDa fragments exhibited similar impairment of Ca(2+) handling along with a significant reduction of sarcomere length shortening, relaxation velocity, and contraction velocity. Pull-down assays using recombinant proteins showed that the 40 kDa fragment binds significantly to sarcomeric actin, comparable to C0-C2 domains. In addition, we discovered several acetylation sites within the 40 kDa fragment that could potentially affect actomyosin function. Altogether, our data demonstrate that the 40 kDa cleavage fragments of cMyBP-C are toxic to cardiomyocytes and significantly impair contractility and Ca(2+) handling via inhibition of actomyosin function. By elucidating the deleterious effects of endogenously expressed cMyBP-C N-terminal fragments on sarcomere function, these data contribute to the understanding of contractile dysfunction following myocardial injury.

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