Reduced passive force in skeletal muscles lacking protein arginylation

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2016 Jan 15;310(2):C127-35. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00269.2015. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


Arginylation is a posttranslational modification that plays a global role in mammals. Mice lacking the enzyme arginyltransferase in skeletal muscles exhibit reduced contractile forces that have been linked to a reduction in myosin cross-bridge formation. The role of arginylation in passive skeletal myofibril forces has never been investigated. In this study, we used single sarcomere and myofibril measurements and observed that lack of arginylation leads to a pronounced reduction in passive forces in skeletal muscles. Mass spectrometry indicated that skeletal muscle titin, the protein primarily linked to passive force generation, is arginylated on five sites located within the A band, an important area for protein-protein interactions. We propose a mechanism for passive force regulation by arginylation through modulation of protein-protein binding between the titin molecule and the thick filament. Key points are as follows: 1) active and passive forces were decreased in myofibrils and single sarcomeres isolated from muscles lacking arginyl-tRNA-protein transferase (ATE1). 2) Mass spectrometry revealed five sites for arginylation within titin molecules. All sites are located within the A-band portion of titin, an important region for protein-protein interactions. 3) Our data suggest that arginylation of titin is required for proper passive force development in skeletal muscles.

Keywords: arginylation; myofibril; passive force; posttranslational modification; sarcomere; titin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminoacyltransferases / genetics
  • Aminoacyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Connectin / chemistry*
  • Connectin / physiology*
  • Elastic Modulus / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle Proteins / chemistry
  • Muscle Proteins / physiology
  • Myofibrils / chemistry
  • Myofibrils / physiology*
  • Myofibrils / ultrastructure
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Connectin
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Aminoacyltransferases
  • arginyltransferase