Experimental dissection and characterization of the functional domains in cardiac troponin C

Darrell Glyn Dotson, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Contraction of vertebrate cardiac muscle is regulated by the binding of Ca$\sp{2+}$ to the troponin C (cTnC) subunit of the troponin complex. In this study, we have used site-directed mutagenesis and a variety of assay techniques to explore the functional roles of regions in cTnC, including Ca$\sp{2+}$/Mg$\sp{2+}$-binding sites III and IV, the functionally inactive site I, the N-terminal helix, the N-terminal hydrophobic pocket and the two cysteine residues with regard to their ability to form disulfide bonds. Conversion of the first Ca$\sp{2+}$ ligand from Asp to Ala inactivated sites III and IV and decreased the apparent affinity of cTnC for the thin filament. Conversion of the second ligand from Asn to Ala also inactivated these sites in the free protein but Ca$\sp{2+}$-binding was recovered upon association with troponin I and troponin T. The Ca$\sp{2+}$-concentrations required for tight thin filament-binding by proteins containing second-ligand mutations were significantly greater than that required for the wild-type protein. Mutation of site I such that the primary sequence was that of an active site with the first Ca$\sp{2+}$ ligand changed from Asp to Ala resulted in a 70% decrease in maximal Ca$\sp{2\sp+}$ dependent ATPase activity in both cardiac and fast skeletal myofibrils. Thus, the primary sequence of the inactive site I in cTnC is functionally important. Major changes in the sequence of the N-terminus had little effect on the ability of cTnC to recover maximal activity but deletion of the first nine residues resulted in a 60 to 80% decrease in maximal activity with only a minor decrease in the pCa$\sb{50}$ of activation, suggesting that the N-terminal helix must be present but that a specific sequence is not required. The formation of an inter- or intramolecular disulfide bonds caused the exposure of hydrophobic surfaces on cTnC and rendered the protein Ca$\sp{2+}$ independent. Finally, elution patterns from a hydrophobic interactions column suggest that cTnC undergoes a significant change in hydrophobicity upon Ca$\sp{2+}$ binding, the majority of which is caused by site II. These latter data show an interesting correlation between exposure of hydrophobic surfaces on and activation of cTnC. Overall, these results represent significant progress toward the elucidation of the functional roles of a variety of structural regions in cTnC.

Subject Area

Biochemistry|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Dotson, Darrell Glyn, "Experimental dissection and characterization of the functional domains in cardiac troponin C" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9500588.