Generation and functional characterization of knock-in mice harboring the cardiac troponin I-R21C mutation associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Yingcai Wang, Jose Renato Pinto, Raquel Sancho Solis, David Dweck, Jingsheng Liang, Zoraida Diaz-Perez, Ying Ge, Jeffery W. Walker, James D. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The R21C substitution in cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is the only identified mutation within its unique N-terminal extension that is associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in man. Particularly, this mutation is located in the consensus sequence for β-adrenergic-activated protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation. The mechanisms by which this mutation leads to heart disease are still unclear. Therefore, we generated cTnI knock-in mouse models carrying an R21C mutation to evaluate the resultant functional consequences. Measuring the in vivo levels of incorporated mutant and WT cTnI, and their basal phosphorylation levels by top-down mass spectrometry demonstrated: 1) a dominant-negative effect such that, the R21C+/-hearts incorporated 24.9% of the mutant cTnI within the myofilament; and 2) the R21C mutation abolished the in vivo phosphorylation of Ser 23/Ser 24 in the mutant cTnI. Adult heterozygous (R21C+/-) and homozygous (R21C+/+) mutant mice activated the fetal gene program and developed a remarkable degree of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. Investigation of cardiac skinned fibers isolated from WT and heterozygous mice revealed that the WT cTnI was completely phosphorylated at Ser 23/Ser 24 unless the mice were pre-treated with propranolol. After propranolol treatment (-PKA), the pCa-tension relationships of all three mice (i.e. WT, R21C+/-, and R21C+/+) were essentially the same. However, after treatment with propranolol and PKA, the R21C cTnI mutation reduced (R21C+/+) or abolished (R21C+/+) the well known decrease in the Ca 2+ sensitivity of tension that accompanies Ser 23/Ser 24 cTnI phosphorylation. Altogether, the combined effects of the R21C mutation appear to contribute toward the development of HCM and suggest that another physiological role for the phosphorylation of Ser 23/Ser 24 in cTnI is to prevent cardiac hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2156-2167
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 13 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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