Research ArticleHEART DISEASE

Deregulated Ca2+ cycling underlies the development of arrhythmia and heart disease due to mutant obscurin

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Science Advances  07 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603081
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603081


Obscurins are cytoskeletal proteins with structural and regulatory roles encoded by OBSCN. Mutations in OBSCN are associated with the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Specifically, the R4344Q mutation present in immunoglobulin domain 58 (Ig58) was the first to be linked with the development of HCM. To assess the effects of R4344Q in vivo, we generated the respective knock-in mouse model. Mutant obscurins are expressed and incorporated normally into sarcomeres. The expression patterns of sarcomeric and Ca2+-cycling proteins are unaltered in sedentary 1-year-old knock-in myocardia, with the exception of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ adenosine triphosphatase 2 (SERCA2) and pentameric phospholamban whose levels are significantly increased and decreased, respectively. Isolated cardiomyocytes from 1-year-old knock-in hearts exhibit increased Ca2+-transients and Ca2+-load in the sarcoplasmic reticulum and faster contractility kinetics. Moreover, sedentary 1-year-old knock-in animals develop tachycardia accompanied by premature ventricular contractions, whereas 2-month-old knock-in animals subjected to pressure overload develop a DCM-like phenotype. Structural analysis revealed that the R4344Q mutation alters the distribution of electrostatic charges over the Ig58 surface, thus interfering with its binding capabilities. Consistent with this, wild-type Ig58 interacts with phospholamban modestly, and this interaction is markedly enhanced in the presence of R4344Q. Together, our studies demonstrate that under sedentary conditions, the R4344Q mutation results in Ca2+ deregulation and spontaneous arrhythmia, whereas in the presence of chronic, pathological stress, it leads to cardiac remodeling and dilation. We postulate that enhanced binding between mutant obscurins and phospholamban leads to SERCA2 disinhibition, which may underlie the observed pathological alterations.

  • obscurin
  • phospholamban
  • heart disease
  • arrhythmia
  • Ca cycling
  • pressure overload
  • transaortic constriction
  • hypertrophic cardiomyopahty
  • dilated cardiomyopahty

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