Alterations in the thin filaments involved in cardiac/skeletal muscle contraction often produce cardiomyopathies/nemaline myopathies with fatal consequences. Our long-term goal is to identify the components and molecular mechanisms regulating actin architecture in muscle during normal development and disease. Our short-term goal is to determine the mechanisms of how thin filament lengths are regulated by the actin filament pointed end binding proteins, leiomodin (Lmod) and tropomoduin (Tmod). Polymerization at the pointed end determines thin filament length and is regulated directly by the binding of tropomodulin (Tmod) and leiomodin (Lmod). This binding is enhanced by the integral thin filament component, tropomyosin (Tpm). We hypothesize that maintenance of thin filament length requires the antagonistic action of Tmod and Lmod; that is, the role of Tmod is to prevent elongation at the pointed end while Lmod allows elongation. We also predict that Tmod and Lmod binding and action at the pointed end is determined by different arrangements of their Tpm- and actin-binding sites. To achieve our goals, a powerful, multidisciplinary collaboration has been established between the Kostyukova laboratory at Washington State University (with expertise in protein structure, structural biochemistry and biophysical properties of actin filaments and regulatory proteins) and the Gregorio laboratory at the University of Arizona (with expertise in the molecular, cellular and developmental biology of myofibril assembly). In this proposal we will combine a broad range of state-of-the-art approaches such as determination of high-resolution atomic structure of Lmod /Tpm binding interface, and use of advanced microscopy and physiological assessment of myocytes from Lmod2 or Lmod3 null mice to test our molecular designs. The proposed experiments will connect Lmod-related thin filament alterations with familial myopathies. A better understanding of thin filament function and of its regulation is critical to better understand muscle disease pathogenesis, to improve diagnostics and to potentially identify novel drug targets.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research is relevant to public health because alterations in thin filament lengths in muscle sarcomeres have been linked to the development of myopathies. In this study, antagonistic function of leiomodin and tropomodulin, two key proteins controlling thin filament lengths, will be studied.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Skeletal Muscle Biology and Exercise Physiology Study Section (SMEP)
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Gindhart, Joseph G
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Washington State University
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
United States
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Ly, Thu; Krieger, Inna; Tolkatchev, Dmitri et al. (2018) Structural destabilization of tropomyosin induced by the cardiomyopathy-linked mutation R21H. Protein Sci 27:498-508
Arslan, Baran; Colpan, Mert; Gray, Kevin T et al. (2018) Characterizing interaction forces between actin and proteins of the tropomodulin family reveals the presence of the N-terminal actin-binding site in leiomodin. Arch Biochem Biophys 638:18-26
Colpan, Mert; Ly, Thu; Grover, Samantha et al. (2017) The cardiomyopathy-associated K15N mutation in tropomyosin alters actin filament pointed end dynamics. Arch Biochem Biophys 630:18-26