Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy mutation R58Q in the myosin regulatory light chain perturbs thick filament-based regulation in cardiac muscle

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is frequently linked to mutations in the protein components of the myosin-containing thick filaments leading to contractile dysfunction and ultimately heart failure. However, the molecular structure-function relationships that underlie these pathological effects remain largely obscure. Here we chose an example mutation (R58Q) in the myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) that is associated with a severe HCM phenotype and combined the results from a wide range of in vitro and in situ structural and functional studies on isolated protein components, myofibrils and ventricular trabeculae to create an extensive map of structure-function relationships. The results can be understood in terms of a unifying hypothesis that illuminates both the effects of the mutation and physiological signaling pathways. R58Q promotes an OFF state of the thick filaments that reduces the number of myosin head domains that are available for actin interaction and ATP utilization. Moreover this mutation uncouples two aspects of length-dependent activation (LDA), the cellular basis of the Frank-Starling relation that couples cardiac output to venous return; R58Q reduces maximum calcium-activated force with no significant effect on myofilament calcium sensitivity. Finally, phosphorylation of R58Q RLC to levels that may be relevant both physiologically and pathologically restores the regulatory state of the thick filament and the effect of sarcomere length on maximum calcium-activated force and thick filament structure, as well as increasing calcium sensitivity. We conclude that perturbation of thick filament-based regulation may be a common mechanism in the etiology of missense-mutation-associated HCM, and that this signaling pathway offers a promising target for the development of novel therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2018


  • Myosin
  • Cardiac muscle regulation
  • Myosin regulatory light chain
  • Polarized fluorescence
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


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