Contractile protein phosphorylation predicts human heart disease phenotypes

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Jun 15;304(12):H1644-50. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00957.2012. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Human heart failure has been associated with a low level of thin-filament protein phosphorylation and an increase in calcium sensitivity of contraction relative to both "control" human heart tissue and tissue from small animal models. However, diverse strategies of human tissue procurement and the reliance on tissue obtained from subjects with end-stage heart failure suggest this may be an incomplete characterization. Therefore, we evaluated cardiac left ventricular (LV) biopsy samples from patients with aortic stenosis undergoing valve replacement who presented either with LV hypertrophy and preserved systolic function (Hyp) or with LV dilation and reduced ejection fraction (Dil). In Hyp, total troponin I (TnI) phosphorylation was markedly increased and myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) phosphorylation was unchanged relative to a control group of patients with normal LV function. Conversely, in Dil, total TnI phosphorylation was significantly reduced compared with control subjects and MLC2 phosphorylation was increased. Site-specific analysis of TnI phosphorylation revealed phenotype-specific differences such that Hyp samples demonstrated significant increases in phosphorylation at serine 22/23 and Dil samples had significant decreases at serine 43. The ratio of phosphorylation at the two sites was biased toward serine 22/23 in Hyp and toward serine 43/45 in Dil. Western blot analysis showed that protein phosphatase-1 was reduced in Hyp and protein phosphatase-2 was reduced in Dil. These data suggest that posttranslational modifications of sarcomeric proteins, both singly and in combination, are stage specific. Defining these changes in progressive heart disease may provide important diagnostic and treatment information.

Keywords: heart failure; hypertrophy; phosphorylation; signal transduction; stenosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / metabolism*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Cardiac Myosins / metabolism*
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism*
  • Cardiomegaly / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism*
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myosin Light Chains / metabolism*
  • Phenotype*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / genetics
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / genetics
  • Protein Phosphatase 2 / metabolism
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Troponin I / metabolism*


  • Myosin Light Chains
  • Troponin I
  • myosin light chain 2
  • Serine
  • Protein Phosphatase 1
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • Cardiac Myosins