Sorcin, a ~22-kDa Ca-binding protein widely expressed in mammalian tissues, is a novel regulator of excitation-contraction coupling in the heart. We have previously characterized the association of sorcin with the cardiac Ca release channel/ryanodine receptor (RyR2) of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Using in vitro and in vivo functional assays, we found that sorcin 1) binds to RyR2s directly and with fast kinetics, rapidly inhibiting single channel activity, 2) undergoes Ca-dependent conformational changes, thereby modulating its affinity for yR2s, 3) localizes to z-lines in ventricular cardiomyocytes, 4) translocates from soluble to membrane bound protein targets in a Ca-dependent manner, 5) attenuates Ca sparks and Ca transients in intact cells, 6) is Phosphorylated by PKA, which in turn attenuates its inhibitory effect on RyR2s. Recently, we generated a Mouse line with genetic ablation of SRI, the gene encoding for sorcin in humans and multiple animal species. Under basal conditions, ventricular myocytes from these mice show apparently normal Ca transients and contractions. However, the apparent equilibrium in sorcin-ko mice is precarious, because a) exercise tests quickly throw these mice into aberrant cardiac electrical activity (tachyarrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest), b) beta adrenergic stimulation of sorcin-ko hearts leads to arrhythmias and fibrillation, and c) isolated cardiomyocytes stimulated with Isoproterenol display Ca oscillations, aftercontractions, and delayed afterdepolarizations. Thus, ablation of sorcin leaves basal cardiac activity almost intact, but leads to increased automaticity. The goal of this proposal is to determine the functional role of sorcin in e-c coupling of the heart, in great part y identifying the molecular and cellular functions affected by its absence, and dissecting the mechanisms that lead to aberrant electrical behavior. We hypothesize that in normal ventricular myocytes, sorcin binds to at least four key players of e-c coupling, with its overall effect being that of a cytosolic Ca2+ sweeper. We propose: 1) to identify the molecular determinants of sorcin interaction with key proteins of e-c coupling;and 2) to determine the integrated role of sorcin in normal e-c coupling, and the pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to aberrant electrical behavior in its absence.
Calcium-dependent arrhythmias are common events in many cardiac diseases such as heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. By determining the mechanisms of action of sorcin, a calcium-binding protein of the heart that regulates several calcium channels and transporters, this research will provide fundamental knowledge on the cellular mechanisms that initiate and perpetuate calcium-dependent arrhythmias.