Activation of fast skeletal muscle troponin as a potential therapeutic approach for treating neuromuscular diseases.
ABSTRACT: Limited neural input results in muscle weakness in neuromuscular disease because of a reduction in the density of muscle innervation, the rate of neuromuscular junction activation or the efficiency of synaptic transmission. We developed a small-molecule fast-skeletal-troponin activator, CK-2017357, as a means to increase muscle strength by amplifying the response of muscle when neural input is otherwise diminished secondary to neuromuscular disease. Binding selectively to the fast-skeletal-troponin complex, CK-2017357 slows the rate of calcium release from troponin C and sensitizes muscle to calcium. As a consequence, the force-calcium relationship of muscle fibers shifts leftwards, as does the force-frequency relationship of a nerve-muscle pair, so that CK-2017357 increases the production of muscle force in situ at sub-maximal nerve stimulation rates. Notably, we show that sensitization of the fast-skeletal-troponin complex to calcium improves muscle force and grip strength immediately after administration of single doses of CK-2017357 in a model of the neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis. Troponin activation may provide a new therapeutic approach to improve physical activity in diseases where neuromuscular function is compromised.
Project description:The effect of the fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, CK-2066260, on calcium-induced force development was studied in skinned fast skeletal muscle fibers from wildtype (WT) and nebulin deficient (NEB KO) mice. Nebulin is a sarcomeric protein that when absent (NEB KO mouse) or present at low levels (nemaline myopathy (NM) patients with NEB mutations) causes muscle weakness. We studied the effect of fast skeletal troponin activation on WT muscle and tested whether it might be a therapeutic mechanism to increase muscle strength in nebulin deficient muscle. We measured tension-pCa relations with and without added CK-2066260. Maximal active tension in NEB KO tibialis cranialis fibers in the absence of CK-2066260 was ?60% less than in WT fibers, consistent with earlier work. CK-2066260 shifted the tension-calcium relationship leftwards, with the largest relative increase (up to 8-fold) at low to intermediate calcium levels. This was a general effect that was present in both WT and NEB KO fiber bundles. At pCa levels above ?6.0 (i.e., calcium concentrations <1 µM), CK-2066260 increased tension of NEB KO fibers to beyond that of WT fibers. Crossbridge cycling kinetics were studied by measuring k(tr) (rate constant of force redevelopment following a rapid shortening/restretch). CK-2066260 greatly increased k(tr) at submaximal activation levels in both WT and NEB KO fiber bundles. We also studied the sarcomere length (SL) dependence of the CK-2066260 effect (SL 2.1 µm and 2.6 µm) and found that in the NEB KO fibers, CK-2066260 had a larger effect on calcium sensitivity at the long SL. We conclude that fast skeletal muscle troponin activation increases force at submaximal activation in both wildtype and NEB KO fiber bundles and, importantly, that this troponin activation is a potential therapeutic mechanism for increasing force in NM and other skeletal muscle diseases with loss of muscle strength.
Project description:Nemaline myopathy-the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy-is caused by mutations in thin filament genes, of which the nebulin gene is the most frequently affected one. The nebulin gene codes for the giant sarcomeric protein nebulin, which plays a crucial role in skeletal muscle contractile performance. Muscle weakness is a hallmark feature of nemaline myopathy patients with nebulin mutations, and is caused by changes in contractile protein function, including a lower calcium-sensitivity of force generation. To date no therapy exists to treat muscle weakness in nemaline myopathy. Here, we studied the ability of the novel fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, CK-2066260, to augment force generation at submaximal calcium levels in muscle cells from nemaline myopathy patients with nebulin mutations.Contractile protein function was determined in permeabilised muscle cells isolated from frozen patient biopsies. The effect of 5 ?M CK-2066260 on force production was assessed.Nebulin protein concentrations were severely reduced in muscle cells from these patients compared to controls, while myofibrillar ultrastructure was largely preserved. Both maximal active tension and the calcium-sensitivity of force generation were lower in patients compared to controls. Importantly, CK-2066260 greatly increased the calcium-sensitivity of force generation-without affecting the cooperativity of activation-in patients to levels that exceed those observed in untreated control muscle.Fast skeletal troponin activation is a therapeutic mechanism to augment contractile protein function in nemaline myopathy patients with nebulin mutations and with other neuromuscular diseases.
Project description:Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease characterized by progressive motor neuron loss resulting in muscle atrophy, declining muscle function, and eventual paralysis. Patients typically die from respiratory failure 3 to 5 years from the onset of symptoms. Tirasemtiv is a fast skeletal troponin activator that sensitizes the sarcomere to calcium; this mechanism of action amplifies the response of muscle to neuromuscular input producing greater force when nerve input is reduced. Here, we demonstrate that a single dose of tirasemtiv significantly increases submaximal isometric force, forelimb grip strength, grid hang time, and rotarod performance in a female transgenic mouse model (B6SJL-SOD1 G93A) of ALS with functional deficits. Additionally, diaphragm force and tidal volume are significantly higher in tirasemtiv-treated female B6SJL-SOD1 G93A mice. These results support the potential of fast skeletal troponin activators to improve muscle function in neuromuscular diseases.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: In this study we tested the hypothesis that tirasemtiv, a selective fast skeletal muscle troponin activator that sensitizes the sarcomere to calcium, could amplify the response of muscle to neuromuscular input in humans. METHODS: Healthy men received tirasemtiv and placebo in a randomized, double-blind, 4-period, crossover design. The deep fibular nerve was stimulated transcutaneously to activate the tibialis anterior muscle and produce dorsiflexion of the foot. The force-frequency relationship of tibialis anterior dorsiflexion was assessed after dosing. RESULTS: Tirasemtiv increased force produced by the tibialis anterior in a dose-, concentration-, and frequency-dependent manner with the largest increases [up to 24.5% (SE 3.1), P < 0.0001] produced at subtetanic nerve stimulation frequencies (10 Hz). CONCLUSIONS: The data confirm that tirasemtiv amplifies the response of skeletal muscle to nerve input in humans. This outcome provides support for further studies of tirasemtiv as a potential therapy in conditions marked by diminished neuromuscular input.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Three studies evaluated safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of CK-2127107 (CK-107), a next-generation fast skeletal muscle troponin activator (FSTA), in healthy participants. We tested the hypothesis that CK-107 would amplify the force-frequency response of muscle in humans. METHODS:To assess the force-frequency response, participants received single doses of CK-107 and placebo in a randomized, double-blind, 4-period, crossover study. The force-frequency response of foot dorsiflexion following stimulation of the deep fibular nerve to activate the tibialis anterior muscle was assessed. RESULTS:CK-107 significantly increased tibialis anterior muscle response with increasing dose and plasma concentration in a frequency-dependent manner; the largest increase in peak force was ?60% at 10?Hz. DISCUSSION:CK-107 appears more potent and produced larger increases in force than tirasemtiv-a first-generation FSTA-in a similar pharmacodynamic study, thereby supporting its development for improvement of muscle function of patients. Muscle Nerve 57: 729-734, 2018.
Project description:Tirasemtiv is a fast skeletal troponin activator that sensitizes the sarcomere to calcium and increases muscle force following subtetanic nerve input. In an animal model of myasthenia gravis (MG), single oral doses of tirasemtiv improved muscle force and reduced fatigability. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of single doses of tirasemtiv on skeletal muscle function and fatigability in patients with generalized MG. Thirty-two patients with acetylcholine receptor-antibody positive MG and muscle weakness received single doses of tirasemtiv (250 mg or 500 mg) or placebo in a double-blind, randomized treatment sequence with each treatment separated by at least 1 week. Outcome measures included the Quantitative MG Score (QMG), MG Composite, Manual Muscle Testing, and forced vital capacity. At 6 h after dosing, tirasemtiv produced dose-related improvements from baseline in the QMG score (slope: -0.49 QMG point per 250 mg; p?=?0.02) and in percent predicted forced vital capacity (slope: 2.2% per 250 mg; p?=?0.04). QMG improved >3 points in twice as many patients after 500 mg tirasemtiv than after placebo. Both doses of tirasemtiv were well tolerated; there were no premature terminations or serious adverse events. The results of this study suggest that tirasemtiv may improve muscle function in MG and will be used to support further development of tirasemtiv in neuromuscular diseases.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Muscle weakness is a common symptom in numerous diseases and a regularly occurring problem associated with ageing. Prolonged low-frequency force depression (PLFFD) is a form of exercise-induced skeletal muscle weakness observed after exercise. Three different intramuscular mechanisms underlying PLFFD have been identified: decreased sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca<sup>2+</sup> release, decreased myofibrillar Ca<sup>2+</sup> sensitivity, and myofibrillar dysfunction. We here used these three forms of PLFFD as models to study the effectiveness of a fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, CK-2066260, to mitigate muscle weakness.<h4>Methods</h4>Experiments were performed on intact single muscle fibres or fibre bundles from mouse flexor digitorum brevis, which were stimulated with electrical current pulses, while force and the free cytosolic [Ca<sup>2+</sup> ] ([Ca<sup>2+</sup> ]<sub>i</sub> ) were measured. PLFFD was induced by three different stimulation protocols: (i) repeated isometric contractions at low intensity (350 ms tetani given every 5 s for 100 contractions); (ii) repeated isometric contractions at high intensity (250 ms tetani given every 0.5 s for 300 contractions); and (iii) repeated eccentric contractions (350 ms tetani with 20% length increase given every 20 s for 10 contractions). The extent and cause of PLFFD were assessed by comparing the force-[Ca<sup>2+</sup> ]<sub>i</sub> relationship at low (30 Hz) and high (120 Hz) stimulation frequencies before (control) and 30 min after induction of PLFFD, and after an additional 5 min of rest in the presence of CK-2066260 (10 ?M).<h4>Results</h4>Prolonged low-frequency force depression following low-intensity and high-intensity fatiguing contractions was predominantly due to decreased sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca<sup>2+</sup> release and decreased myofibrillar Ca<sup>2+</sup> sensitivity, respectively. CK-2066260 exposure resulted in marked increases in 30 Hz force from 52 ± 16% to 151 ± 13% and from 6 ± 4% to 98 ± 40% of controls with low-intensity and high-intensity contractions, respectively. Following repeated eccentric contractions, PLFFD was mainly due to myofibrillar dysfunction, and it was not fully reversed by CK-2066260 with 30 Hz force increasing from 48 ± 8% to 76 ± 6% of the control.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The fast skeletal muscle troponin activator CK-2066260 effectively mitigates muscle weakness, especially when it is caused by impaired activation of the myofibrillar contractile machinery due to either decreased sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca<sup>2+</sup> release or reduced myofibrillar Ca<sup>2+</sup> sensitivity.
Project description:Ageing skeletal muscle undergoes chronic denervation, and the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), the key structure that connects motor neuron nerves with muscle cells, shows increased defects with ageing. Previous studies in various species have shown that with ageing, type II fast-twitch skeletal muscle fibres show more atrophy and NMJ deterioration than type I slow-twitch fibres. However, how this process is regulated is largely unknown. A better understanding of the mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle fibre-type specific denervation at the NMJ could be critical to identifying novel treatments for sarcopenia. Cardiac troponin T (cTnT), the heart muscle-specific isoform of TnT, is a key component of the mechanisms of muscle contraction. It is expressed in skeletal muscle during early development, after acute sciatic nerve denervation, in various neuromuscular diseases and possibly in ageing muscle. Yet the subcellular localization and function of cTnT in skeletal muscle is largely unknown.Studies were carried out on isolated skeletal muscles from mice, vervet monkeys, and humans. Immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation, and mass spectrometry were used to analyse protein expression, real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to measure gene expression, immunofluorescence staining was performed for subcellular distribution assay of proteins, and electromyographic recording was used to analyse neurotransmission at the NMJ.Levels of cTnT expression in skeletal muscle increased with ageing in mice. In addition, cTnT was highly enriched at the NMJ region-but mainly in the fast-twitch, not the slow-twitch, muscle of old mice. We further found that the protein kinase A (PKA) RIα subunit was largely removed from, while PKA RIIα and RIIβ are enriched at, the NMJ-again, preferentially in fast-twitch but not slow-twitch muscle in old mice. Knocking down cTnT in fast skeletal muscle of old mice: (i) increased PKA RIα and reduced PKA RIIα at the NMJ; (ii) decreased the levels of gene expression of muscle denervation markers; and (iii) enhanced neurotransmission efficiency at NMJ.Cardiac troponin T at the NMJ region contributes to NMJ functional decline with ageing mainly in the fast-twitch skeletal muscle through interfering with PKA signalling. This knowledge could inform useful targets for prevention and therapy of age-related decline in muscle function.
Project description:Introduction:Statin therapy is often associated with muscle complaints and increased serum creatine kinase (CK). However, although essential in determining muscle damage, this marker is not specific for skeletal muscle. Recent studies on animal models have shown that slow and fast isoforms of skeletal troponin I (ssTnI and fsTnI, respectively) can be useful markers of skeletal muscle injury. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of ssTnI and fsTnI as markers to monitor the statin-induced skeletal muscle damage. Materials and methods:A total of 51 patients (14 using and 37 not using statins) admitted to the intensive care unit of the University of Ferrara Academic Hospital were included in this observational study. Serum activities of CK, aldolase, alanine aminotransferase and myoglobin were determined by spectrophotometric assays or routine laboratory analysis. Isoforms ssTnI and fsTnI were determined by commercially available ELISAs. The creatine kinase MB isoform (CK-MB) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) were evaluated as biomarkers of cardiac muscle damage by automatic analysers. Results:Among the non-specific markers, only CK was significantly higher in statin users (P = 0.027). Isoform fsTnI, but not ssTnI, was specifically increased in those patients using statins (P = 0.009) evidencing the major susceptibility of fast-twitch fibres towards statins. Sub-clinical increase in fsTnI, but not CK, was more frequent in statin users (P = 0.007). Cardiac markers were not significantly altered by statins confirming the selectivity of the effect on skeletal muscle. Conclusions:Serum fsTnI could be a good marker for monitoring statin-associated muscular damage outperforming traditional markers.
Project description:The interaction between calcium and the regulatory site(s) of striated muscle regulatory protein troponin switches on and off muscle contraction. In skeletal troponin binding of calcium to sites I and II of the TnC subunit results in a set of structural changes in the troponin complex, displaces tropomyosin along the actin filament and allows myosin-actin interaction to produce mechanical force. In this study, we used molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the calcium dependent dynamics of the fast skeletal troponin molecule and its TnC subunit in the calcium saturated and depleted states. We focused on the N-lobe and on describing the atomic level events that take place subsequent to removal of the calcium ion from the regulatory sites I and II. A main structural event - a closure of the A/B helix hydrophobic pocket results from the integrated effect of the following conformational changes: the breakage of H-bond interactions between the backbone nitrogen atoms of the residues at positions 2, 9 and sidechain oxygen atoms of the residue at position 12 (N(2)-OE(12)/N(9)-OE(12)) in sites I and II; expansion of sites I and II and increased site II N-terminal end-segment flexibility; strengthening of the ?-sheet scaffold; and the subsequent re-packing of the N-lobe hydrophobic residues. Additionally, the calcium release allows the N-lobe to rotate relative to the rest of the Tn molecule. Based on the findings presented herein we propose a novel model of skeletal thin filament regulation.