Desensitization of myofilaments to Ca2+ as a therapeutic target for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with mutations in thin filament proteins

Marco L Alves, Fernando A L Dias, Robert D Gaffin, Jillian N Simon, Eric M Montminy, Brandon J Biesiadecki, Aaron C Hinken, Chad M Warren, Megan S Utter, Robert T Davis, Sadayappan Sakthivel, Jeffrey Robbins, David F Wieczorek, R John Solaro, Beata M Wolska
Circulation. Cardiovascular Genetics 2014, 7 (2): 132-143

BACKGROUND: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common genetic disorder caused mainly by mutations in sarcomeric proteins and is characterized by maladaptive myocardial hypertrophy, diastolic heart failure, increased myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, and high susceptibility to sudden death. We tested the following hypothesis: correction of the increased myofilament sensitivity can delay or prevent the development of the HCM phenotype.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We used an HCM mouse model with an E180G mutation in α-tropomyosin (Tm180) that demonstrates increased myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, severe hypertrophy, and diastolic dysfunction. To test our hypothesis, we reduced myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity in Tm180 mice by generating a double transgenic mouse line. We crossed Tm180 mice with mice expressing a pseudophosphorylated cardiac troponin I (S23D and S24D; TnI-PP). TnI-PP mice demonstrated a reduced myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity compared with wild-type mice. The development of pathological hypertrophy did not occur in mice expressing both Tm180 and TnI-PP. Left ventricle performance was improved in double transgenic compared with their Tm180 littermates, which express wild-type cardiac troponin I. Hearts of double transgenic mice demonstrated no changes in expression of phospholamban and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase, increased levels of phospholamban and troponin T phosphorylation, and reduced phosphorylation of TnI compared with Tm180 mice. Moreover, expression of TnI-PP in Tm180 hearts inhibited modifications in the activity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and zinc finger-containing transcription factor GATA in Tm180 hearts.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data strongly indicate that reduction of myofilament sensitivity to Ca(2+) and associated correction of abnormal relaxation can delay or prevent development of HCM and should be considered as a therapeutic target for HCM.

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