ABSTRACT: A transient increase in Ca2+ concentration in sarcomeres is essential for their proper function. Ca2+ drives striated muscle contraction via binding to the troponin complex of the thin filament to activate its interaction with the myosin thick filament. In addition to the troponin complex, the myosin essential light chain and myosin-binding protein C were also found to be Ca2+ sensitive. However, the effects of Ca2+ on the function of the tropomodulin family proteins involved in regulating thin filament formation have not yet been studied. Leiomodin, a member of the tropomodulin family, is an actin nucleator and thin filament elongator. Using pyrene-actin polymerization assay and transmission electron microscopy, we show that the actin nucleation activity of leiomodin is attenuated by Ca2+ . Using circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we demonstrate that the mostly disordered, negatively charged region of leiomodin located between its first two actin-binding sites binds Ca2+ . We propose that Ca2+ binding to leiomodin results in the attenuation of its nucleation activity. Our data provide further evidence regarding the role of Ca2+ as an ultimate regulator of the ensemble of sarcomeric proteins essential for muscle function. SUMMARY STATEMENT: Ca2+ fluctuations in striated muscle sarcomeres modulate contractile activity via binding to several distinct families of sarcomeric proteins. The effects of Ca2+ on the activity of leiomodin-an actin nucleator and thin filament length regulator-have remained unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that Ca2+ binds directly to leiomodin and attenuates its actin nucleating activity. Our data emphasizes the ultimate role of Ca2+ in the regulation of the sarcomeric protein interactions.
Project description:Regulation of actin filament assembly is essential for efficient contractile activity in striated muscle. Leiomodin is an actin-binding protein and homolog of the pointed-end capping protein, tropomodulin. These proteins are structurally similar, sharing a common domain organization that includes two actin-binding sites. Leiomodin also contains a unique C-terminal extension that has a third actin-binding WH2 domain. Recently, the striated-muscle-specific isoform of leiomodin (Lmod2) was reported to be an actin nucleator in cardiomyocytes. Here, we have identified a function of Lmod2 in the regulation of thin filament lengths. We show that Lmod2 localizes to the pointed ends of thin filaments, where it competes for binding with tropomodulin-1 (Tmod1). Overexpression of Lmod2 results in loss of Tmod1 assembly and elongation of the thin filaments from their pointed ends. The Lmod2 WH2 domain is required for lengthening because its removal results in a molecule that caps the pointed ends similarly to Tmod1. Furthermore, Lmod2 transcripts are first detected in the heart after it has begun to beat, suggesting that the primary function of Lmod2 is to maintain thin filament lengths in the mature heart. Thus, Lmod2 antagonizes the function of Tmod1, and together, these molecules might fine-tune thin filament lengths.
Project description:Leiomodin is a potent actin nucleator related to tropomodulin, a capping protein localized at the pointed end of the thin filaments. Mutations in leiomodin-3 are associated with lethal nemaline myopathy in humans, and leiomodin-2-knockout mice present with dilated cardiomyopathy. The arrangement of the N-terminal actin- and tropomyosin-binding sites in leiomodin is contradictory and functionally not well understood. Using one-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance and the pointed-end actin polymerization assay, we find that leiomodin-2, a major cardiac isoform, has an N-terminal actin-binding site located within residues 43-90. Moreover, for the first time, we obtain evidence that there are additional interactions with actin within residues 124-201. Here we establish that leiomodin interacts with only one tropomyosin molecule, and this is the only site of interaction between leiomodin and tropomyosin. Introduction of mutations in both actin- and tropomyosin-binding sites of leiomodin affected its localization at the pointed ends of the thin filaments in cardiomyocytes. On the basis of our new findings, we propose a model in which leiomodin regulates actin poly-merization dynamics in myocytes by acting as a leaky cap at thin filament pointed ends.
Project description:Improper lengths of actin-thin filaments are associated with altered contractile activity and lethal myopathies. Leiomodin, a member of the tropomodulin family of proteins, is critical in thin filament assembly and maintenance; however, its role is under dispute. Using nuclear magnetic resonance data and molecular dynamics simulations, we generated the first atomic structural model of the binding interface between the tropomyosin-binding site of cardiac leiomodin and the N-terminus of striated muscle tropomyosin. Our structural data indicate that the leiomodin/tropomyosin complex only forms at the pointed end of thin filaments, where the tropomyosin N-terminus is not blocked by an adjacent tropomyosin protomer. This discovery provides evidence supporting the debated mechanism where leiomodin and tropomodulin regulate thin filament lengths by competing for thin filament binding. Data from experiments performed in cardiomyocytes provide additional support for the competition model; specifically, expression of a leiomodin mutant that is unable to interact with tropomyosin fails to displace tropomodulin at thin filament pointed ends and fails to elongate thin filaments. Together with previous structural and biochemical data, we now propose a molecular mechanism of actin polymerization at the pointed end in the presence of bound leiomodin. In the proposed model, the N-terminal actin-binding site of leiomodin can act as a "swinging gate" allowing limited actin polymerization, thus making leiomodin a leaky pointed-end cap. Results presented in this work answer long-standing questions about the role of leiomodin in thin filament length regulation and maintenance.
Project description:The role and utility of intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) is reviewed for two groups of sarcomeric proteins, such as members of tropomodulin/leiomodin (Tmod/Lmod) protein homology group and myosin binding protein C (MyBP-C). These two types of sarcomeric proteins represent very different but strongly interdependent functions, being responsible for maintaining structure and operation of the muscle sarcomere. The role of IDRs in the formation of complexes between thin filaments and Tmods/Lmods is discussed within the framework of current understanding of the thin filament length regulation. For MyBP-C, the function of IDRs is discussed in the context of MYBP-C-dependent sarcomere contraction and actomyosin activation.
Project description:Initiation of actin polymerization in cells requires nucleation factors. Here we describe an actin-binding protein, leiomodin, that acted as a strong filament nucleator in muscle cells. Leiomodin shared two actin-binding sites with the filament pointed end-capping protein tropomodulin: a flexible N-terminal region and a leucine-rich repeat domain. Leiomodin also contained a C-terminal extension of 150 residues. The smallest fragment with strong nucleation activity included the leucine-rich repeat and C-terminal extension. The N-terminal region enhanced the nucleation activity threefold and recruited tropomyosin, which weakly stimulated nucleation and mediated localization of leiomodin to the middle of muscle sarcomeres. Knocking down leiomodin severely compromised sarcomere assembly in cultured muscle cells, which suggests a role for leiomodin in the nucleation of tropomyosin-decorated filaments in muscles.
Project description:Tropomyosin is the major regulator of the thin filament. In striated muscle its function is to bind troponin complex and control the access of myosin heads to actin in a Ca2+-dependent manner. It also participates in the maintenance of thin filament length by regulation of tropomodulin and leiomodin, the pointed end-binding proteins. Because the size of the overlap between actin and myosin filaments affects the number of myosin heads which interact with actin, the filament length is one of the determinants of force development. Numerous point mutations in genes encoding tropomyosin lead to single amino acid substitutions along the entire length of the coiled coil that are associated with various types of cardiomyopathy and skeletal muscle disease. Specific regions of tropomyosin interact with different binding partners; therefore, the mutations affect diverse tropomyosin functions. In this review, results of studies on mutations in the genes TPM1 and TPM3, encoding Tpm1.1 and Tpm3.12, are described. The paper is particularly focused on mutation-dependent alterations in the mechanisms of actin-myosin interactions and dynamics of the thin filament at the pointed end.
Project description:Missense mutations K15N and R21H in striated muscle tropomyosin are linked to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), respectively. Tropomyosin, together with the troponin complex, regulates muscle contraction and, along with tropomodulin and leiomodin, controls the uniform thin-filament lengths crucial for normal sarcomere structure and function. We used Förster resonance energy transfer to study effects of the tropomyosin mutations on the structure and kinetics of the cardiac troponin core domain associated with the Ca<sup>2+</sup>-dependent regulation of cardiac thin filaments. We found that the K15N mutation desensitizes thin filaments to Ca<sup>2+</sup> and slows the kinetics of structural changes in troponin induced by Ca<sup>2+</sup> dissociation from troponin, while the R21H mutation has almost no effect on these parameters. Expression of the K15N mutant in cardiomyocytes decreases leiomodin's thin-filament pointed-end assembly but does not affect tropomodulin's assembly at the pointed end. Our in vitro assays show that the R21H mutation causes a twofold decrease in tropomyosin's affinity for F-actin and affects leiomodin's function. We suggest that the K15N mutation causes DCM by altering Ca<sup>2+</sup>-dependent thin-filament regulation and that one of the possible HCM-causing mechanisms by the R21H mutation is through alteration of leiomodin's function.
Project description:Leiomodin proteins are vertebrate homologues of tropomodulin, having a role in the assembly and maintenance of muscle thin filaments. Leiomodin2 contains an N-terminal tropomodulin homolog fragment including tropomyosin-, and actin-binding sites, and a C-terminal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome homology 2 actin-binding domain. The cardiac leiomodin2 isoform associates to the pointed end of actin filaments, where it supports the lengthening of thin filaments and competes with tropomodulin. It was recently found that cardiac leiomodin2 can localise also along the length of sarcomeric actin filaments. While the activities of leiomodin2 related to pointed end binding are relatively well described, the potential side binding activity and its functional consequences are less well understood. To better understand the biological functions of leiomodin2, in the present work we analysed the structural features and the activities of Rattus norvegicus cardiac leiomodin2 in actin dynamics by spectroscopic and high-speed sedimentation approaches. By monitoring the fluorescence parameters of leiomodin2 tryptophan residues we found that it possesses flexible, intrinsically disordered regions. Leiomodin2 accelerates the polymerisation of actin in an ionic strength dependent manner, which relies on its N-terminal regions. Importantly, we demonstrate that leiomodin2 binds to the sides of actin filaments and induces structural alterations in actin filaments. Upon its interaction with the filaments leiomodin2 decreases the actin-activated Mg2+-ATPase activity of skeletal muscle myosin. These observations suggest that through its binding to side of actin filaments and its effect on myosin activity leiomodin2 has more functions in muscle cells than it was indicated in previous studies.
Project description:The sarcomeric tropomodulin (Tmod) isoforms Tmod1 and Tmod4 cap thin filament pointed ends and functionally interact with the leiomodin (Lmod) isoforms Lmod2 and Lmod3 to control myofibril organization, thin filament lengths, and actomyosin crossbridge formation in skeletal muscle fibers. Here, we show that Tmod4 is more abundant than Tmod1 at both the transcript and protein level in a variety of muscle types, but the relative abundances of sarcomeric Tmods are muscle specific. We then generate Tmod4(-/-) mice, which exhibit normal thin filament lengths, myofibril organization, and skeletal muscle contractile function owing to compensatory upregulation of Tmod1, together with an Lmod isoform switch wherein Lmod3 is downregulated and Lmod2 is upregulated. However, RNAi depletion of Tmod1 from either wild-type or Tmod4(-/-) muscle fibers leads to thin filament elongation by ?15%. Thus, Tmod1 per se, rather than total sarcomeric Tmod levels, controls thin filament lengths in mouse skeletal muscle, whereas Tmod4 appears to be dispensable for thin filament length regulation. These findings identify Tmod1 as the key direct regulator of thin filament length in skeletal muscle, in both adult muscle homeostasis and in developmentally compensated contexts.
Project description:Maintenance of skeletal muscle structure and function requires a precise stoichiometry of sarcomeric proteins for proper assembly of the contractile apparatus. Absence of components of the sarcomeric thin filaments causes nemaline myopathy, a lethal congenital muscle disorder associated with aberrant myofiber structure and contractility. Previously, we reported that deficiency of the kelch-like family member 40 (KLHL40) in mice results in nemaline myopathy and destabilization of leiomodin-3 (LMOD3). LMOD3 belongs to a family of tropomodulin-related proteins that promote actin nucleation. Here, we show that deficiency of LMOD3 in mice causes nemaline myopathy. In skeletal muscle, transcription of Lmod3 was controlled by the transcription factors SRF and MEF2. Myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTFs), which function as SRF coactivators, serve as sensors of actin polymerization and are sequestered in the cytoplasm by actin monomers. Conversely, conditions that favor actin polymerization de-repress MRTFs and activate SRF-dependent genes. We demonstrated that the actin nucleator LMOD3, together with its stabilizing partner KLHL40, enhances MRTF-SRF activity. In turn, SRF cooperated with MEF2 to sustain the expression of LMOD3 and other components of the contractile apparatus, thereby establishing a regulatory circuit to maintain skeletal muscle function. These findings provide insight into the molecular basis of the sarcomere assembly and muscle dysfunction associated with nemaline myopathy.