Control of calcium binding to and dissociation from cardiac troponin C (TnC) is essential to healthy cardiac muscle contraction/relaxation. There are numerous aberrant post-translational modifications and mutations within a plethora of contractile, and even non-contractile, proteins that appear to imbalance this delicate relationship. The direction and extent of the resulting change in calcium sensitivity is thought to drive the heart toward one type of disease or another. There are a number of molecular mechanisms that may be responsible for the altered calcium binding properties of TnC, potentially the most significant being the ability of the regulatory domain of TnC to bind the switch peptide region of TnI. Considering TnI is essentially tethered to TnC and cannot diffuse away in the absence of calcium, we suggest that the apparent calcium binding properties of TnC are highly dependent upon an “effective concentration” of TnI available to bind TnC. Based on our previous work, TnI peptide binding studies and the calcium binding properties of chimeric TnC-TnI fusion constructs, and building upon the concept of effective concentration, we have developed a mathematical model that can simulate the steady-state and kinetic calcium binding properties of a wide assortment of disease-related and post-translational protein modifications in the isolated troponin complex and reconstituted thin filament. We predict that several TnI and TnT modifications do not alter any of the intrinsic calcium or TnI binding constants of TnC, but rather alter the ability of TnC to “find” TnI in the presence of calcium. These studies demonstrate the apparent consequences of the effective TnI concentration in modulating the calcium binding properties of TnC.

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Published in Frontiers in Physiology, v. 7, 632, p. 1-14.

© 2016 Siddiqui, Tikunova, Walton, Liu, Meyer, de Tombe, Neilson, Kekenes-Huskey, Salhi, Janssen, Biesiadecki and Davis.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Supported by NIH Grants HL091986 (JD), AG051913 (JD), HL117034 (ST), HL113084 (PJ), HL1114940 (BB), HL62426 (Pd).