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Int J Cardiol. 2019 May 1;282:76-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2019.01.102. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

The inhibitory subunit of cardiac troponin (cTnI) is modified by arginine methylation in the human heart.

Author information

1
Biomedical Sciences, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd, HU6 7RX Hull, UK.
2
Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK.
3
School of Chemistry, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd, HU6 7RX Hull, UK.
4
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3RE, UK.
5
Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK; Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Castle Rd, Cottingham HU16 5JQ, UK.
6
Biomedical Sciences, University of Hull, Cottingham Rd, HU6 7RX Hull, UK. Electronic address: p.beltran-alvarez@hull.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The inhibitory subunit of cardiac troponin (cTnI) is a gold standard cardiac biomarker and also an essential protein in cardiomyocyte excitation-contraction coupling. The interactions of cTnI with other proteins are fine-tuned by post-translational modification of cTnI. Mutations in cTnI can lead to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Here we report, for the first time, that cTnI is modified by arginine methylation in human myocardium. Using Western blot, we observed reduced levels of cTnI arginine methylation in human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy compared to dilated cardiomyopathy biopsies. Similarly, using a rat model of cardiac hypertrophy we observed reduced levels of cTnI arginine methylation compared to sham controls. Using mass spectrometry, we identified cTnI methylation sites at R74/R79 and R146/R148 in human cardiac samples. R146 and R148 lie at the boundary between the critical cTnI inhibitory and switch peptides; PRMT1 methylated an extended inhibitory peptide at R146 and R148 in vitro. Mutations at R145 that have been associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy hampered R146/R148 methylation by PRMT1 in vitro. H9c2 cardiac-like cells transfected with plasmids encoding for a methylation-deficient R146A/R148A cTnI protein developed cell hypertrophy, with a 32% increase in cell size after 72 h, compared to control cells.

DISCUSSION:

Our results provide evidence for a novel and significant cTnI post-translational modification. Our work opens the door to translational investigations of cTnI arginine methylation as a biomarker of disease, which can include e.g. cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarction and heart failure, and offers a novel way to investigate the effect of cTnI mutations in the inhibitory/switch peptides.

KEYWORDS:

Arginine methylation; Inhibitory/switch peptide; Mass spectrometry; Post-translational modifications; Troponin inhibitory subunit

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