Recently, linkage analysis of two large unrelated multigenerational families identified a novel dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)-linked mutation in the gene coding for alpha-tropomyosin (TPM1) resulting in the substitution of an aspartic acid for an asparagine (at residue 230). To determine how a single amino acid mutation in α-tropomyosin (Tm) can lead to a highly penetrant DCM we generated a novel transgenic mouse model carrying the D230N mutation. The resultant mouse model strongly phenocopied the early onset of cardiomyopathic remodeling observed in patients as significant systolic dysfunction was observed by 2months of age. To determine the precise cellular mechanism(s) leading to the observed cardiac pathology we examined the effect of the mutation on Ca2+ handling in isolated myocytes and myofilament activation in vitro. D230N-Tm filaments exhibited a reduced Ca2+ sensitivity of sliding velocity. This decrease in sensitivity was coupled to increase in the peak amplitude of Ca2+ transients. While significant, and consistent with other DCMs, these measurements are comprised of complex inputs and did not provide sufficient experimental resolution. We then assessed the primary structural effects of D230N-Tm. Measurements of the thermal unfolding of D230N-Tm vs WT-Tm revealed an increase in stability primarily affecting the C-terminus of the Tm coiled-coil. We conclude that the D230N-Tm mutation induces a decrease in flexibility of the C-terminus via propagation through the helical structure of the protein, thus decreasing the flexibility of the Tm overlap and impairing its ability to regulate contraction. Understanding this unique structural mechanism could provide novel targets for eventual therapeutic interventions in patients with Tm-linked cardiomyopathies.
Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; Dilated; Mice; Mutation; Transgenic; Tropomyosin.
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