Three-dimensional electron microscopy reveals new details of membrane systems for Ca2+ signaling in the heart.
ABSTRACT: In the current study, the three-dimensional (3D) topologies of dyadic clefts and associated membrane organelles were mapped in mouse ventricular myocardium using electron tomography. The morphological details and the distribution of membrane systems, including transverse tubules (T-tubules), junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and vicinal mitochondria, were determined and presumed to be crucial for controlling cardiac Ca(2+) dynamics. The geometric complexity of T-tubules that varied in diameter with frequent branching was clarified. Dyadic clefts were intricately shaped and remarkably small (average 4.39x10(5) nm(3), median 2.81x10(5) nm(3)). Although a dyadic cleft of average size could hold maximum 43 ryanodine receptor (RyR) tetramers, more than one-third of clefts were smaller than the size that is able to package as many as 15 RyR tetramers. The dyadic clefts were also adjacent to one another (average end-to-end distance to the nearest dyadic cleft, 19.9 nm) and were distributed irregularly along T-tubule branches. Electron-dense structures that linked membrane organelles were frequently observed between mitochondrial outer membranes and SR or T-tubules. We, thus, propose that the topology of dyadic clefts and the neighboring cellular micro-architecture are the major determinants of the local control of Ca(2+) in the heart, including the establishment of the quantal nature of SR Ca(2+) releases (e.g. Ca(2+) sparks).
Project description:Single ryanodine receptor (RyR) Ca(2+) flux amplitude (i(Ca-RyR)) decreases as intra-sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) levels fall during a cardiac Ca(2+) spark. Since i(Ca-RyR) drives the inter-RyR Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) that underlies the spark, decreasing i(Ca-RyR) may contribute to spark termination because RyRs that spontaneously close may stay closed. To test this possibility, we simultaneously measured local cytosolic and intra-SR ([Ca(2+)]cyto and [Ca(2+)]SR) during Ca(2+) sparks in permeabilized rabbit ventricular myocytes. Local cytosolic or intra-SR Ca(2+) dynamics were manipulated using Ca(2+) buffers. Buffer manipulations applied in cells had no effect on individual RyR channels reconstituted in planar lipid bilayers. Presence of a fast cytosolic Ca(2+) buffer (BAPTA) significantly suppressed Ca(2+) spark activity and sparks terminated earlier at a higher than usual [Ca(2+)]SR level (?80% vs. ?62%). When cytosolic Ca(2+) buffer power was reduced (i.e. cytosolic EGTA level decreased), sparks terminated later and at a lower than usual [Ca(2+)]SR level (?45% vs. ?62%). When intra-SR Ca(2+) buffer power was increased, sparks also terminated later and at a lower than usual [Ca(2+)]SR (?48% vs. ?62%). These results suggest that cytosolic local control of inter-RyR CICR by i(Ca-RyR) plays a substantial role during the spark termination process. Thus, alterations in local cytosolic Ca(2+) handling dynamics in the dyadic cleft (Ca(2+) buffering, extrusion, etc.) likely influence Ca(2+) spark termination.
Project description:Spontaneous calcium (Ca) sparks are initiated by single ryanodine receptor (RyR) opening. Once one RyR channel opens, it elevates local [Ca] in the cleft space ([Ca](Cleft)), which opens other RyR channels in the same Ca release unit (CaRU) via Ca-induced Ca-release. Experiments by Zima et al. (J. Physiol. 588:4743-4757, 2010) demonstrate that spontaneous Ca sparks occur only when intrasarcoplasmic-reticulum (SR) [Ca] ([Ca](SR)) is above a threshold level, but that RyR-mediated SR Ca leak exists without Ca sparks well below this threshold [Ca](SR). We examine here how single RyR opening at lower [Ca](SR) can fail to recruit Ca sparks at a CaRU, while still contributing to SR Ca leak. We assess this using a physiologically detailed mathematical model of junctional SR Ca release in which RyR gating is regulated by [Ca](SR) and [Ca](Cleft). We find that several factors contribute to the failure of Ca sparks as [Ca](SR) declines: 1), lower [Ca](SR) reduces driving force and thus limits local [Ca](Cleft) achieved and the rate of rise during RyR opening; 2), low [Ca](SR) limits RyR open time (?(O)), which further reduces local [Ca](Cleft) attained; 3), low ?(O) and fast [Ca](Cleft) dissipation after RyR closure shorten the opportunity for neighboring RyR activation; 4), at low [Ca](SR), the RyR exhibits reduced [Ca](Cleft) sensitivity. We conclude that all of these factors conspire to reduce the probability of Ca sparks as [Ca](SR) declines, despite continued RyR-mediated Ca leak. In addition, these same factors explain the much lower efficacy of L-type Ca channel opening to trigger local SR Ca release at low [Ca](SR) during excitation-contraction coupling. Conversely, all of these factors are fundamentally important for increasing the propensity for pro-arrhythmic Ca sparks and waves in cardiac myocytes at high [Ca](SR).
Project description:Mathematical modeling of excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) in ventricular cardiac myocytes is a multiscale problem, and it is therefore difficult to develop spatially detailed simulation tools. ECC involves gradients on the length scale of 100 nm in dyadic spaces and concentration profiles along the 100 ?m of the whole cell, as well as the sub-millisecond time scale of local concentration changes and the change of lumenal Ca(2+) content within tens of seconds. Our concept for a multiscale mathematical model of Ca(2+) -induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) and whole cardiomyocyte electrophysiology incorporates stochastic simulation of individual LC- and RyR-channels, spatially detailed concentration dynamics in dyadic clefts, rabbit membrane potential dynamics, and a system of partial differential equations for myoplasmic and lumenal free Ca(2+) and Ca(2+)-binding molecules in the bulk of the cell. We developed a novel computational approach to resolve the concentration gradients from dyadic space to cell level by using a quasistatic approximation within the dyad and finite element methods for integrating the partial differential equations. We show whole cell Ca(2+)-concentration profiles using three previously published RyR-channel Markov schemes.
Project description:Recent work has demonstrated that cardiomyocyte Ca(2+)release is desynchronized in several pathological conditions. Loss of Ca(2+) release synchrony has been attributed to t-tubule disruption, but it is unknown if other factors also contribute. We investigated this issue in normal and failing myocytes by integrating experimental data with a mathematical model describing spatiotemporal dynamics of Ca(2+) in the cytosol and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Heart failure development in postinfarction mice was associated with progressive t-tubule disorganization, as quantified by fast-Fourier transforms. Data from fast-Fourier transforms were then incorporated in the model as a dyadic organization index, reflecting the proportion of ryanodine receptors located in dyads. With decreasing dyadic-organization index, the model predicted greater dyssynchrony of Ca(2+) release, which exceeded that observed in experimental line-scan images. Model and experiment were reconciled by reducing the threshold for Ca(2+) release in the model, suggesting that increased RyR sensitivity partially offsets the desynchronizing effects of t-tubule disruption in heart failure. Reducing the magnitude of SR Ca(2+) content and release, whether experimentally by thapsigargin treatment, or in the model, desynchronized the Ca(2+) transient. However, in cardiomyocytes isolated from SERCA2 knockout mice, RyR sensitization offset such effects. A similar interplay between RyR sensitivity and SR content was observed during treatment of myocytes with low-dose caffeine. Initial synchronization of Ca(2+) release during caffeine was reversed as SR content declined due to enhanced RyR leak. Thus, synchrony of cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) release is not only determined by t-tubule organization but also by the interplay between RyR sensitivity and SR Ca(2+) content.
Project description:During heart failure, the ability of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to store Ca(2+) is severely impaired resulting in abnormal Ca(2+) cycling and excitation-contraction (EC) coupling. Recently, it has been proposed that "leaky" ryanodine receptors (RyRs) contribute to diminished Ca(2+) levels in the SR. Various groups have experimentally investigated the effects of RyR phosphorylation mediated by Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) on RyR behavior. Some of these results are difficult to interpret since RyR gating is modulated by many external proteins and ions, including Ca(2+). Here, we present a mathematical model representing CaMKII-RyR interaction in the canine ventricular myocyte. This is an extension of our previous model which characterized CaMKII phosphorylation of L-type Ca(2+) channels (LCCs) in the cardiac dyad. In this model, it is assumed that upon phosphorylation, RyR Ca(2+)-sensitivity is increased. Individual RyR phosphorylation is modeled as a function of dyadic CaMKII activity, which is modulated by local Ca(2+) levels. The model is constrained by experimental measurements of Ca(2+) spark frequency and steady state RyR phosphorylation. It replicates steady state RyR (leak) fluxes in the range measured in experiments without the addition of a separate passive leak pathway. Simulation results suggest that under physiological conditions, CaMKII phosphorylation of LCCs ultimately has a greater effect on RyR flux as compared with RyR phosphorylation. We also show that phosphorylation of LCCs decreases EC coupling gain significantly and increases action potential duration. These results suggest that LCC phosphorylation sites may be a more effective target than RyR sites in modulating diastolic RyR flux.
Project description:Calcium for contraction of skeletal muscles is released via tetrameric ryanodine receptor (RYR1) channels of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), which are assembled in ordered arrays called couplons at junctions where the SR abuts T tubules or plasmalemma. Voltage-gated Ca2+ (CaV1.1) channels, found in tubules or plasmalemma, form symmetric complexes called CaV tetrads that associate with and activate underlying RYR tetramers during membrane depolarization by conveying a conformational change. Intriguingly, CaV tetrads regularly skip every other RYR tetramer within the array; therefore, the RYRs underlying tetrads (named V), but not the voltage sensor-lacking (C) RYRs, should be activated by depolarization. Here we hypothesize that the checkerboard association is maintained solely by reversible binary interactions between CaVs and RYRs and test this hypothesis using a quantitative model of the energies that govern CaV1.1-RYR1 binding, which are assumed to depend on number and location of bound CaVs. A Monte Carlo simulation generates large statistical samples and distributions of state variables that can be compared with quantitative features in freeze-fracture images of couplons from various sources. This analysis reveals two necessary model features: (1) the energy of a tetramer must have wells at low and high occupation by CaVs, so that CaVs positively cooperate in binding RYR (an allosteric effect), and (2) a large energy penalty results when two CaVs bind simultaneously to adjacent RYR protomers in adjacent tetramers (a steric clash). Under the hypothesis, V and C channels will eventually reverse roles. Role reversal justifies the presence of sensor-lacking C channels, as a structural and functional reserve for control of muscle contraction.
Project description:The contraction of a heart cell is controlled by Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release between L-type Ca(2+) channels (LCCs) in the cell membrane/T-tubules (TTs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in the junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). During heart failure, LCC-RyR signalling becomes defective. The purpose of the present study was to reveal the ultrastructural mechanism underlying the defective LCC-RyR signalling and contractility.In rat models of heart failure produced by transverse aortic constriction surgery, stereological analysis of transmission electron microscopic images showed that the volume density and the surface area of junctional SRs and those of SR-coupled TTs were both decreased in failing heart cells. The TT-SR junctions were displaced or missing from the Z-line areas. Moreover, the spatial span of individual TT-SR junctions was markedly reduced in failing heart cells. Numerical simulation and junctophilin-2 knockdown experiments demonstrated that the decrease in junction size (and thereby the constitutive LCC and RyR numbers) led to a scattered delay of Ca(2+) release activation.The shrinking and eventual absence of TT-SR junctions are important mechanisms underlying the desynchronized and inhomogeneous Ca(2+) release and the decreased contractile strength in heart failure. Maintaining the nanoscopic integrity of TT-SR junctions thus represents a therapeutic strategy against heart failure and related cardiomyopathies.
Project description:In cardiac ventricular myocytes, calcium (Ca) release occurs at distinct structures (dyads) along t-tubules, where L-type Ca channels (LCCs) appose sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca release channels (RyR2s). We developed a model of the cardiac ventricular myocyte that simulates local stochastic Ca release processes. At the local Ca release level, the model reproduces Ca spark properties. At the whole-cell level, the model reproduces the action potential, Ca currents, and Ca transients. Changes in microscopic dyadic properties (e.g., during detubulation in heart failure) affect whole-cell behavior in complex ways, which we investigated by simulating changes in the dyadic volume and number of LCCs/RyR2s in the dyad, and effects of calsequestrin (CSQN) as a Ca buffer (CSQN buffer) or a luminal Ca sensor (CSQN regulator). We obtained the following results: 1), Increased dyadic volume and reduced LCCs/RyR2s decrease excitation-contraction coupling gain and cause asynchrony of SR Ca release, and interdyad coupling partially compensates for the reduced synchrony. 2), Impaired CSQN buffer depresses Ca transients without affecting the synchrony of SR Ca release. 3), When CSQN regulator function is impaired, interdyad coupling augments diastolic Ca release activity to form Ca waves and long-lasting Ca release events.
Project description:In heart cells, the mechanisms underlying refractoriness of the elementary units of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) release, Ca(2+) sparks, remain unclear. We investigated local recovery of SR Ca(2+) release using experimental measurements and mathematical modelling.Repeated Ca(2+) sparks were induced from individual clusters of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in quiescent rat ventricular myocytes, and we examined how changes in RyR gating influenced the time-dependent recovery of Ca(2+) spark amplitude and triggering probability. Repeated Ca(2+) sparks from individual sites were analysed in the presence of 50 nM ryanodine with: (i) no additional agents (control); (ii) 50 µM caffeine to sensitize RyRs; (iii) 50 µM tetracaine to inhibit RyRs; or (iv) 100 nM isoproterenol to activate ?-adrenergic receptors. Sensitization and inhibition of RyR clusters shortened and lengthened, respectively, the median interval between consecutive Ca(2+) sparks (caffeine 239 ms; control 280 ms; tetracaine 453 ms). Recovery of Ca(2+) spark amplitude, however, was exponential with a time constant of ?100 ms in all cases. Isoproterenol both accelerated the recovery of Ca(2+) spark amplitude (? = 58 ms) and shortened the median interval between Ca(2+) sparks (192 ms). The results were recapitulated by a mathematical model in which SR [Ca(2+)] depletion terminates Ca(2+) sparks, but not by an alternative model based on limited depletion and Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation of RyRs.Together, the results strongly suggest that: (i) local SR refilling controls Ca(2+) spark amplitude recovery; (ii) Ca(2+) spark triggering depends on both refilling and RyR sensitivity; and (iii) ?-adrenergic stimulation influences both processes.
Project description:In cardiac muscle, Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) is mediated by ryanodine receptor (RyR) Ca(2+) release channels. The inherent positive feedback of CICR is normally well-controlled. Understanding this control mechanism is a priority because its malfunction has life-threatening consequences.We show that CICR local control is governed by SR Ca(2+) load, largely because load determines the single RyR current amplitude that drives inter-RyR CICR.We differentially manipulated single RyR Ca(2+) flux amplitude and SR Ca(2+) load in permeabilized ventricular myocytes as an endogenous cell biology model of the heart. Large RyR-permeable organic cations were used to interfere with Ca(2+) conductance through the open RyR pore. Single-channel studies show this attenuates current amplitude without altering other aspects of RyR function. In cells, the same experimental maneuver increased resting SR Ca(2+) load. Despite the increased load, Ca(2+) spark (inter-RyR CICR events) frequency decreased and sparks terminated earlier.Spark local control follows single RyR current amplitude, not simply SR Ca(2+) load. Spark frequency increases with load because spontaneous RyR openings at high loads produce larger currents (ie, a larger CICR trigger signal). Sparks terminate when load falls to the point at which single RyR current amplitude is no longer sufficient to sustain inter-RyR CICR. Thus, RyRs that spontaneously close no longer reopen and local Ca(2+) release ends.