Calsequestrin (Casq2) is a low affinity Ca(2+)-binding protein located in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of cardiac myocytes. Casq2 acts as a Ca(2+) buffer regulating free Ca(2+) concentration in the SR lumen and plays a significant role in the regulation of Ca(2+) release from this intracellular organelle. In addition, there is experimental evidence supporting the hypothesis that Casq2 also modulates the activity of the cardiac Ca(2+) release channels, ryanodine receptors (RyR2). In this study, Casq2 knockout mice (Casq2-/-) were used as a model to evaluate the effects of the Casq2 on the cytosolic and intra-SR Ca(2+) dynamics, and the electrical activity in the ventricular epicardial layer of intact beating hearts. Casq2-/- mice have accelerated intra-SR Ca(2+) refilling kinetics (76 ± 22 vs. 136.5 ± 15 ms) and a reduced refractoriness of Ca(2+) release (182 ± 32 ms Casq2+/+ and 111 ± 22 ms Casq2-/- ). In addition, mice display reduced Ca(2+) alternans (67% decline in the amplitude of Ca(2+) alternans at 7 Hz, 21oC) and less T-wave alternans at the electrocardiographic level. The results presented in this paper support the idea of Casq2 acting both as a buffer and a direct regulator of the Ca(2+) release process. Finally, we propose that alterations in Ca(2+) release refractoriness shown here could explain the relationship between Casq2 function and an increase in the risk for ventricular arrhythmias.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.