Structural and Functional Consequences of Cardiac Troponin C L57Q and I61Q Ca2+-Desensitizing Variants
Two cTnC variants, L57Q and I61Q, both of which are located on helix C within the N domain of cTnC, were originally reported in the skeletal muscle system [Tikunova and Davis (2004) J Biol Chem 279, 35341-35352], as the analogous L58Q and I62Q sTnC, and demonstrated a decreased Ca2+ binding affinity. Here, we provide detailed characterization of structure-function relationships for these two cTnC variants, to determine if they behave differently in the cardiac system and as a framework for determining similarities and differences with other cTnC mutations that have been associated with DCM. We have used an integrative approach to study the structure and function of these cTnC variants both in solution and in silico, to understand how the L57Q and I61Q mutations influence Ca2+ binding at site II, the subsequent effects on the interaction with cTnI, and the structural changes which are associated with these changes. Steady-state and stopped flow fluorescence spectroscopy confirmed that a decrease in Ca2+ affinity for recombinant cTnC and cTn complexes containing the L57Q or I61Q variants. The L57Q variant was intermediate between WT and I61Q cTnC and also did not significantly alter cTnC-cTnI interaction in the absence of Ca2+, but did decrease the interaction in the presence of Ca2+. In contrast, I61Q decreased the cTnC-cTnI interaction in both the absence and presence of Ca2+. This difference in the absence of Ca2+ suggests a greater structural change in cNTnC may occur with the I61Q mutation than the L57Q mutation. MD simulations revealed that the decreased Ca2+ binding induced by I61Q may result from destabilization of the Ca2+ binding site through interruption of intra-molecular interactions when residue 61 forms new hydrogen bonds with G70 on the Ca2+ binding loop. The experimentally observed interruption of the cTnC-cTnI interaction caused by L57Q or I61Q is due to the disruption of key hydrophobic interactions between helices B and C in cNTnC. This study provides a molecular basis of how single mutations in the C helix of cTnC can reduce Ca2+ binding affinity and cTnC-cTnI interaction, which may provide useful insights for a better understanding of cardiomyopathies and future gene-based therapies. âº Study of L57Q and I61Q cTnC using solution and in silico techniques is presented. âº Solution studies indicate both variants decrease the Ca2+ binding affinity to cTnC. âº Both variants reduced cTnI affinity to cTnC in Ca2+ saturated states. âº MD simulation shows disruption between helices B/C by both cTnC variants. âº cTnC (I61Q) formed hydrogen bonds with the residues on the Ca2+ binding loop.