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FEBS J. 2019 Jun;286(12):2240-2260. doi: 10.1111/febs.14854. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Posttranslational modifications of titin from cardiac muscle: how, where, and what for?

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Institute of Physiology II, University of Muenster, Germany.


Titin is a giant elastic protein expressed in the contractile units of striated muscle cells, including the sarcomeres of cardiomyocytes. The last decade has seen enormous progress in our understanding of how titin molecular elasticity is modulated in a dynamic manner to help cardiac sarcomeres adjust to the varying hemodynamic demands on the heart. Crucial events mediating the rapid modulation of cardiac titin stiffness are post-translational modifications (PTMs) of titin. In this review, we first recollect what is known from earlier and recent work on the molecular mechanisms of titin extensibility and force generation. The main goal then is to provide a comprehensive overview of current insight into the relationship between titin PTMs and cardiomyocyte stiffness, notably the effect of oxidation and phosphorylation of titin spring segments on titin stiffness. A synopsis is given of which type of oxidative titin modification can cause which effect on titin stiffness. A large part of the review then covers the mechanically relevant phosphorylation sites in titin, their location along the elastic segment, and the protein kinases and phosphatases known to target these sites. We also include a detailed coverage of the complex changes in phosphorylation at specific titin residues, which have been reported in both animal models of heart disease and in human heart failure, and their correlation with titin-based stiffness alterations. Knowledge of the relationship between titin PTMs and titin elasticity can be exploited in the search for therapeutic approaches aimed at softening the pathologically stiffened myocardium in heart failure patients.


cytoskeleton; elasticity; heart; heart disease; oxidation; oxidative stress; phosphorylation; protein kinase; protein phosphatase

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