At the single-channel level, oxidation of the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) is known to activate and inhibit the channel depending on the level of oxidation. However, the mechanisms through which these changes alter the activity of RyR2 in a cellular setting are poorly understood. In this study, we determined the effect of oxidation on a common form of RyR2 regulation; store overload-induced Ca(2+) release (SOICR). We found that oxidation resulted in concentration and time-dependent changes in the activation threshold for SOICR. Low concentrations of the oxidant H2O2 resulted in a decrease in the threshold for SOICR, which led to an increase in SOICR events. However, higher concentrations of H2O2, or prolonged exposure, reversed these changes and led to an increase in the threshold for SOICR. This increase in the threshold for SOICR in most cells was to such an extent that it led to the complete inhibition of SOICR. Acute exposure to high concentrations of H2O2 led to an initial decrease and then increase in the threshold for SOICR. In the majority of cells the increased threshold could not be reversed by the application of the reducing agent dithiothreitol. Therefore, our data suggest that low levels of RyR2 oxidation increase the channel activity by decreasing the threshold for SOICR, whereas high levels of RyR2 oxidation irreversibly increase the threshold for SOICR leading to an inhibition of RyR2. Combined, this indicates that oxidation regulates RyR2 by the same mechanism as phosphorylation, methylxanthines, and mutations, via changes in the threshold for SOICR.
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