Regulation of cardiac contractile proteins. Correlations between physiology and biochemistry

S Winegrad
Circulation Research 1984, 55 (5): 565-74
Modulation of the functional properties of the contractile proteins of mammalian heart muscle plays a significant role in the response of the heart to beta-adrenergic stimulation. The most well understood modification is a change in the concentration of calcium ions that is required to activate the contractile system. By means of a cAMP-sensitive phosphorylation of the inhibitory subunit of troponin (TNI), the threshold concentration for activation can be increased as much as 5-fold without changing the maximum calcium-activated force. The protein kinase involved in this regulation is located in the sarcolemma. Cholinergic stimulation causes a dephosphorylation of TNI by a cGMP-sensitive phosphatase. The concentration of calcium ions required to activate contraction also decreases as muscle length increases. This response of the contractile proteins does not involve phosphorylation of TNI. Regulation of the maximum calcium-activated force can take place by a cAMP-sensitive reaction involving a different protein kinase that is located inside the cell. This mechanism involves at least two sequential reactions, one a cAMP-controlled phosphorylation of a protein bound to an intracellular membrane to release an active factor, and the second, an interaction between the active factor and the contractile proteins to enhance the capacity for generating force in the presence of calcium. Phosphorylation of the light chain of myosin is produced by a calmodulin-regulated kinase. The light chain of myosin is partially phosphorylated in the intact heart, but beta-adrenergic stimulation of the heart does not increase the decrease of phosphorylation in parallel with the increase in contractility.

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