Rationale: High-myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity has been proposed as a trigger of disease pathogenesis in familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) on the basis of in vitro and transgenic mice studies. However, myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity depends on protein phosphorylation and muscle length, and at present, data in humans are scarce.
Objective: To investigate whether high myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity and perturbed length-dependent activation are characteristics for human HCM with mutations in thick and thin filament proteins.
Methods and results: Cardiac samples from patients with HCM harboring mutations in genes encoding thick (MYH7, MYBPC3) and thin (TNNT2, TNNI3, TPM1) filament proteins were compared with sarcomere mutation-negative HCM and nonfailing donors. Cardiomyocyte force measurements showed higher myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity in all HCM samples and low phosphorylation of protein kinase A (PKA) targets compared with donors. After exogenous PKA treatment, myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity was similar (MYBPC3mut, TPM1mut, sarcomere mutation-negative HCM), higher (MYH7mut, TNNT2mut), or even significantly lower (TNNI3mut) compared with donors. Length-dependent activation was significantly smaller in all HCM than in donor samples. PKA treatment increased phosphorylation of PKA-targets in HCM myocardium and normalized length-dependent activation to donor values in sarcomere mutation-negative HCM and HCM with truncating MYBPC3 mutations but not in HCM with missense mutations. Replacement of mutant by wild-type troponin in TNNT2mut and TNNI3mut corrected length-dependent activation to donor values.
Conclusions: High-myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity is a common characteristic of human HCM and partly reflects hypophosphorylation of PKA targets compared with donors. Length-dependent sarcomere activation is perturbed by missense mutations, possibly via posttranslational modifications other than PKA hypophosphorylation or altered protein-protein interactions, and represents a common pathomechanism in HCM.
Keywords: calcium; cardiomyopathy; contractility; hypertrophy; myocardium.