Sarcomeric perturbations of myosin motors lead to dilated cardiomyopathy in genetically modified MYL2 mice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 6;115(10):E2338-E2347. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716925115. Epub 2018 Feb 20.


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a devastating heart disease that affects about 1 million people in the United States, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, we aimed to determine the biomechanical and structural causes of DCM in transgenic mice carrying a novel mutation in the MYL2 gene, encoding the cardiac myosin regulatory light chain. Transgenic D94A (aspartic acid-to-alanine) mice were created and investigated by echocardiography and invasive hemodynamic and molecular structural and functional assessments. Consistent with the DCM phenotype, a significant reduction of the ejection fraction (EF) was observed in ∼5- and ∼12-mo-old male and female D94A lines compared with respective WT controls. Younger male D94A mice showed a more pronounced left ventricular (LV) chamber dilation compared with female counterparts, but both sexes of D94A lines developed DCM by 12 mo of age. The hypocontractile activity of D94A myosin motors resulted in the rightward shift of the force-pCa dependence and decreased actin-activated myosin ATPase activity. Consistent with a decreased Ca2+ sensitivity of contractile force, a small-angle X-ray diffraction study, performed in D94A fibers at submaximal Ca2+ concentrations, revealed repositioning of the D94A cross-bridge mass toward the thick-filament backbone supporting the hypocontractile state of D94A myosin motors. Our data suggest that structural perturbations at the level of sarcomeres result in aberrant cardiomyocyte cytoarchitecture and lead to LV chamber dilation and decreased EF, manifesting in systolic dysfunction of D94A hearts. The D94A-induced development of DCM in mice closely follows the clinical phenotype and suggests that MYL2 may serve as a new therapeutic target for dilated cardiomyopathy.

Keywords: DCM; MYL2; invasive hemodynamics; myosin RLC; transgenic D94A mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / genetics
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / metabolism*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myosin Light Chains / genetics
  • Myosin Light Chains / metabolism*
  • Sarcomeres / genetics
  • Sarcomeres / metabolism*


  • Myosin Light Chains