Molecular mechanism of the E99K mutation in cardiac actin (ACTC Gene) that causes apical hypertrophy in man and mouse.
ABSTRACT: We generated a transgenic mouse model expressing the apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy-causing mutation ACTC E99K at 50% of total heart actin and compared it with actin from patients carrying the same mutation. The actin mutation caused a higher Ca(2+) sensitivity in reconstituted thin filaments measured by in vitro motility assay (2.3-fold for mice and 1.3-fold for humans) and in skinned papillary muscle. The mutation also abolished the change in Ca(2+) sensitivity normally linked to troponin I phosphorylation. MyBP-C and troponin I phosphorylation levels were the same as controls in transgenic mice and human carrier heart samples. ACTC E99K mice exhibited a high death rate between 28 and 45 days (48% females and 22% males). At 21 weeks, the hearts of the male survivors had enlarged atria, increased interstitial fibrosis, and sarcomere disarray. MRI showed hypertrophy, predominantly at the apex of the heart. End-diastolic volume and end-diastolic pressure were increased, and relaxation rates were reduced compared with nontransgenic littermates. End-systolic pressures and volumes were unaltered. ECG abnormalities were present, and the contractile response to ?-adrenergic stimulation was much reduced. Older mice (29-week-old females and 38-week-old males) developed dilated cardiomyopathy with increased end-systolic volume and continuing increased end-diastolic pressure and slower contraction and relaxation rates. ECG showed atrial flutter and frequent atrial ectopic beats at rest in some ACTC E99K mice. We propose that the ACTC E99K mutation causes higher myofibrillar Ca(2+) sensitivity that is responsible for the sudden cardiac death, apical hypertrophy, and subsequent development of heart failure in humans and mice.
Project description:In both humans and mice, the Glu-99-Lys (E99K) mutation in the cardiac actin gene (ACTC) results in little understood apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (AHCM). To determine how cross-bridge kinetics change with AHCM development, we applied sinusoidal length perturbations to skinned papillary muscle fibres from 2- and 5-month old E99K transgenic (Tg) and non-transgenic (NTg) mice, and studied tension and its transients. These age groups were chosen because our preliminary studies indicated that AHCM develops with age. Fibres from 5-month old E99K mice showed significant decreases in tension, stiffness, the rate of the medium-speed exponential process and its magnitude compared to non-transgenic control. The nucleotide association constants increased with age, and they were significantly larger in E99K compared to NTg. However, there were no large differences in the rates of the cross-bridge detachment step, the rates of the force generation step, or the phosphate association constant. Our result on force/cross-bridge demonstrates that the decreased active tension of E99K fibres was caused by a decreased amount of force generated per each cross-bridge. The effects were generally less or insignificant at 2 months. A pCa-tension study showed increased Ca2+-sensitivity (pCa50) with age in both the E99K and NTg sample groups, and pCa50 was significantly larger (but only for 0.05-0.06 pCa units) in E99K than in NTg groups. A significant decrease in cooperativity (nH) was observed only in 5-month old E99K mice. We conclude that the AHCM-causing ACTC E99K mutation is associated with progressive alterations in biomechanical parameters, with changes smaller at 2 months but larger at 5 months, correlating with the development of AHCM.
Project description:Determining the molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of heart failure will help us gain better insight into the most costly health problem in the Western world. To understand the roles that the actin protein plays in the development of heart failure, we have taken a systematic approach toward characterizing human cardiac actin mutants that have been associated with either hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy. Seven known cardiac actin mutants were expressed in a baculovirus system, and their intrinsic properties were studied. In general, the changes to the properties of the actin proteins themselves were subtle. The R312H variant exhibited reduced stability, with a T(m) of 53.6 °C compared to 56.8 °C for WT actin, accompanied with increased polymerization critical concentration and Pi release rate, and a marked increase in nucleotide release rates. Substitution of methionine for leucine at amino acid 305 showed no impact on the stability, nucleotide release rates, or DNase-I inhibition ability of the actin monomer; however, during polymerization, a 2-fold increase in Pi release was observed. Increases to both the T(m) and DNase-I inhibition activity suggested interactions between E99K actin molecules under monomer-promoting conditions. Y166C actin had a higher critical concentration resulting in a lower Pi release rate due to reduced filament-forming potential. The locations of mutations on the ACTC protein correlated with the molecular effects; in general, mutations in subdomain 3 affected the stability of the ACTC protein or affect the polymerization of actin filaments, while mutations in subdomains 1 and 4 more likely affect protein-protein interactions.
Project description:Skeletal muscle alpha-actin (ACTA1) is the major actin in postnatal skeletal muscle. Mutations of ACTA1 cause mostly fatal congenital myopathies. Cardiac alpha-actin (ACTC) is the major striated actin in adult heart and fetal skeletal muscle. It is unknown why ACTC and ACTA1 expression switch during development. We investigated whether ACTC can replace ACTA1 in postnatal skeletal muscle. Two ACTC transgenic mouse lines were crossed with Acta1 knockout mice (which all die by 9 d after birth). Offspring resulting from the cross with the high expressing line survive to old age, and their skeletal muscles show no gross pathological features. The mice are not impaired on grip strength, rotarod, or locomotor activity. These findings indicate that ACTC is sufficiently similar to ACTA1 to produce adequate function in postnatal skeletal muscle. This raises the prospect that ACTC reactivation might provide a therapy for ACTA1 diseases. In addition, the mouse model will allow analysis of the precise functional differences between ACTA1 and ACTC.
Project description:Mutations in cardiac actin (ACTC) have been associated with different cardiac abnormalities in humans, including dilated cardiomyopathy and septal defects. However, it is still poorly understood how altered ACTC structure affects cardiovascular physiology and results in the development of distinct congenital disorders. A zebrafish mutant (s434 mutation) was identified that displays blood regurgitation in a dilated heart and lacks endocardial cushion (EC) formation. We identified the mutation as a single nucleotide change in the alpha-cardiac actin 1a gene (actc1a), resulting in a Y169S amino acid substitution. This mutation is located at the W-loop of actin, which has been implicated in nucleotide sensing. Consequently, s434 mutants show loss of polymerized cardiac actin. An analogous mutation in yeast actin results in rapid depolymerization of F-actin into fragments that cannot reanneal. This polymerization defect can be partially rescued by phalloidin treatment, which stabilizes F-actin. In addition, actc1a mutants show defects in cardiac contractility and altered blood flow within the heart tube. This leads to downregulation or mislocalization of EC-specific gene expression and results in the absence of EC development. Our study underscores the importance of the W-loop for actin functionality and will help us to understand the structural and physiological consequences of ACTC mutations in human congenital disorders.
Project description:Phosphorylation of troponin I by protein kinase A (PKA) reduces Ca(2+) sensitivity and increases the rate of Ca(2+) release from troponin C and the rate of relaxation in cardiac muscle. In vitro experiments indicate that mutations that cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) uncouple this modulation, but this has not been demonstrated in an intact contractile system. Using a Ca(2+)-jump protocol, we measured the effect of the DCM-causing mutation ACTC E361G on the equilibrium and kinetic parameters of Ca(2+) regulation of contractility in single transgenic mouse heart myofibrils. We used propranolol treatment of mice to reduce the level of troponin I and myosin binding protein C (MyBP-C) phosphorylation in their hearts before isolating the myofibrils. In nontransgenic mouse myofibrils, the Ca(2+) sensitivity of force was increased, the fast relaxation phase rate constant, kREL, was reduced, and the length of the slow linear phase, tLIN, was increased when the troponin I phosphorylation level was reduced from 1.02 to 0.3 molPi/TnI (EC50 P/unP = 1.8 ± 0.2, p < 0.001). Native myofibrils from ACTC E361G transgenic mice had a 2.4-fold higher Ca(2+) sensitivity than nontransgenic mouse myofibrils. Strikingly, the Ca(2+) sensitivity and relaxation parameters of ACTC E361G myofibrils did not depend on the troponin I phosphorylation level (EC50 P/unP = 0.88 ± 0.17, p = 0.39). Nevertheless, modulation of the Ca(2+) sensitivity of ACTC E361G myofibrils by sarcomere length or EMD57033 was indistinguishable from that of nontransgenic myofibrils. Overall, EC50 measured in different conditions varied over a 7-fold range. The time course of relaxation, as defined by tLIN and kREL, was correlated with EC50 but varied by just 2.7- and 3.3-fold, respectively. Our results confirm that troponin I phosphorylation specifically alters the Ca(2+) sensitivity of isometric tension and the time course of relaxation in cardiac muscle myofibrils. Moreover, the DCM-causing mutation ACTC E361G blunts this phosphorylation-dependent response without affecting other parameters of contraction, including length-dependent activation and the response to EMD57033.
Project description:Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary disorder of contractility in heart muscle. To gain mechanistic insight and guide pharmacological rescue, this study models HCM using isogenic pairs of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) carrying the E99K-ACTC1 cardiac actin mutation. In both 3D engineered heart tissues and 2D monolayers, arrhythmogenesis was evident in all E99K-ACTC1 hiPSC-CMs. Aberrant phenotypes were most common in hiPSC-CMs produced from the heterozygote father. Unexpectedly, pathological phenotypes were less evident in E99K-expressing hiPSC-CMs from the two sons. Mechanistic insight from Ca2+ handling expression studies prompted pharmacological rescue experiments, wherein dual dantroline/ranolazine treatment was most effective. Our data are consistent with E99K mutant protein being a central cause of HCM but the three-way interaction between the primary genetic lesion, background (epi)genetics, and donor patient age may influence the pathogenic phenotype. This illustrates the value of isogenic hiPSC-CMs in genotype-phenotype correlations.
Project description:We identified the alpha-cardiac actin gene (ACTC) as a novel disease gene in a pedigree suffering from familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC). Linkage analyses excluded all the previously reported FHC loci as possible disease loci in the family studied, with lod scores varying between -2.5 and -6.0. Further linkage analyses of plausible candidate genes highly expressed in the adult human heart identified ACTC as the most likely disease gene, showing a maximal lod score of 3.6. Mutation analysis of ACTC revealed an Ala295Ser mutation in exon 5 close to 2 missense mutations recently described to cause the inherited form of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC). ACTC is the first sarcomeric gene described in which mutations are responsible for 2 different cardiomyopathies. We hypothesize that ACTC mutations affecting sarcomere contraction lead to FHC and that mutations affecting force transmission from the sarcomere to the surrounding syncytium lead to IDC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mutations of ?-actin gene (ACTC1) have been phenotypically related to various cardiac anomalies, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy and left ventricular (LV) myocardial noncompaction. A novel ACTC mutation is reported as cosegregating for familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and LV myocardial noncompaction with transmural crypts. METHODS AND RESULTS:In an Italian family of 7 subjects, 4 aged 10 (II-1), 14 (II-2), 43 (I-4) and 46 years (I-5), presenting abnormal ECG changes, dyspnea and palpitation (II-2, I-4, and I-5), and recurrent cerebral ischemic attack (I-5), underwent 2-dimensional echo, cardiac magnetic resonance, Holter monitoring, and next-generation sequencing gene analysis. Patients II-2 and I-5 with ventricular tachycardia underwent a cardiac invasive study, including coronary with LV angiography and endomyocardial biopsy. In all the affected members, ECG showed right bundle branch block and left anterior hemiblock with age-related prolongation of QRS duration. Two-dimensional echo and cardiac magnetic resonance documented LV myocardial noncompaction in all and in I-4, I-5, and II-2 a progressive LV hypertrophy up to 22-mm maximal wall thickness. Coronary arteries were normal. LV angiography showed transmural crypts progressing to spongeous myocardial transformation with LV dilatation and dysfunction in the oldest subject. At histology and electron microscopy detachment of myocardiocytes were associated with cell and myofibrillar disarray and degradation of intercalated discs causing disanchorage of myofilaments to cell membrane. Next-generation sequencing showed in affected members an unreported p.(Ala21Val) mutation of ACTC. CONCLUSIONS:Novel p.(Ala21Val) mutation of ACTC1 causes myofibrillar and intercalated disc alteration leading to familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and LV myocardial noncompaction with transmural crypts.
Project description:Patients with early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE) are at increased risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). De novo mutations of the sodium channel gene SCN8A, encoding the sodium channel Nav1.6, result in EIEE13 (OMIM 614558), which has a 10% risk of SUDEP. Here, we investigated the cardiac phenotype of a mouse model expressing the gain of function EIEE13 patient mutation p.Asn1768Asp in Scn8a (Nav1.6-N1768D). We tested Scn8aN1768D/+ mice for alterations in cardiac excitability. We observed prolongation of the early stages of action potential (AP) repolarization in mutant myocytes vs. controls. Scn8aN1768D/+ myocytes were hyperexcitable, with a lowered threshold for AP firing, increased incidence of delayed afterdepolarizations, increased calcium transient duration, increased incidence of diastolic calcium release, and ectopic contractility. Calcium transient duration and diastolic calcium release in the mutant myocytes were tetrodotoxin-sensitive. A selective inhibitor of reverse mode Na/Ca exchange blocked the increased incidence of diastolic calcium release in mutant cells. Scn8aN1768D/+ mice exhibited bradycardia compared with controls. This difference in heart rate dissipated after administration of norepinephrine, and there were no differences in heart rate in denervated ex vivo hearts, implicating parasympathetic hyperexcitability in the Scn8aN1768D/+ animals. When challenged with norepinephrine and caffeine to simulate a catecholaminergic surge, Scn8aN1768D/+ mice showed ventricular arrhythmias. Two of three mutant mice under continuous ECG telemetry recording experienced death, with severe bradycardia preceding asystole. Thus, in addition to central neuron hyperexcitability, Scn8aN1768D/+ mice have cardiac myoycte and parasympathetic neuron hyperexcitability. Simultaneous dysfunction in these systems may contribute to SUDEP associated with mutations of Scn8a.
Project description:Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is frequently caused by mutations in MYBPC3 encoding cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBP-C). The mechanisms leading from gene mutations to the HCM phenotype remain incompletely understood, partially because current mouse models of HCM do not faithfully reflect the human situation and early hypertrophy confounds the interpretation of functional alterations. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether myofilament Ca(2+) sensitization and diastolic dysfunction are associated or precede the development of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in HCM. We evaluated the function of skinned and intact cardiac myocytes, as well as the intact heart in a recently developed Mybpc3-targeted knock-in mouse model carrying a point mutation frequently associated with HCM. Compared to wild-type, 10-week old homozygous knock-in mice exhibited i) higher myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity in skinned ventricular trabeculae, ii) lower diastolic sarcomere length, and faster Ca(2+) transient decay in intact myocytes, and iii) LVH, reduced fractional shortening, lower E/A and E'/A', and higher E/E' ratios by echocardiography and Doppler analysis, suggesting systolic and diastolic dysfunction. In contrast, heterozygous knock-in mice, which mimic the human HCM situation, did not exhibit LVH or systolic dysfunction, but exhibited higher myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, faster Ca(2+) transient decay, and diastolic dysfunction. These data demonstrate that myofilament Ca(2+) sensitization and diastolic dysfunction are early phenotypic consequences of Mybpc3 mutations independent of LVH. The accelerated Ca(2+) transients point to compensatory mechanisms directed towards normalization of relaxation. We propose that HCM is a model for diastolic heart failure and this mouse model could be valuable in studying mechanisms and treatment modalities.