Rationale: In the myocardium, redox/cysteine modification of proteins regulating Ca(2+) cycling can affect contraction and may have therapeutic value. Nitroxyl (HNO), the one-electron-reduced form of nitric oxide, enhances cardiac function in a manner that suggests reversible cysteine modifications of the contractile machinery.
Objective: To determine the effects of HNO modification in cardiac myofilament proteins.
Methods and results: The HNO-donor, 1-nitrosocyclohexyl acetate, was found to act directly on the myofilament proteins, increasing maximum force (F(max)) and reducing the concentration of Ca(2+) for 50% activation (Ca(50)) in intact and skinned cardiac muscles. The effects of 1-nitrosocyclohexyl acetate are reversible by reducing agents and distinct from those of another HNO donor, Angeli salt, which was previously reported to increase F(max) without affecting Ca50. Using a new mass spectrometry capture technique based on the biotin switch assay, we identified and characterized the formation by HNO of a disulfide-linked actin-tropomyosin and myosin heavy chain-myosin light chain 1. Comparison of the 1-nitrosocyclohexyl acetate and Angeli salt effects with the modifications induced by each donor indicated the actin-tropomyosin and myosin heavy chain-myosin light chain 1 interactions independently correlated with increased Ca(2+) sensitivity and force generation, respectively.
Conclusions: HNO exerts a direct effect on cardiac myofilament proteins increasing myofilament Ca(2+) responsiveness by promoting disulfide bond formation between critical cysteine residues. These findings indicate a novel, redox-based modulation of the contractile apparatus, which positively impacts myocardial function, providing further mechanistic insight for HNO as a therapeutic agent.