Background: The clinical outcome of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients is not only determined by the disease-causing mutation but influenced by a variety of disease modifiers. Here, we defined the role of the mutation location and the mutant protein dose of the troponin T mutations I79N, R94C and R278C. Methods and results: We determined myofilament function after troponin exchange in permeabilized single human cardiomyocytes as well as in cardiac patient samples harboring the R278C mutation. Notably, we found that a small dose of mutant protein is sufficient for the maximal effect on myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity for the I79N and R94C mutation while the mutation location determines the magnitude of this effect. While incorporation of I79N and R94C increased myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity, incorporation of R278C increased Ca2+-sensitivity at low and intermediate dose, while it decreased Ca2+-sensitivity at high dose. All three cTnT mutants showed reduced thin filament binding affinity, which coincided with a relatively low maximal exchange (50.5 ± 5.2%) of mutant troponin complex in cardiomyocytes. In accordance, 32.2 ± 4.0% mutant R278C was found in two patient samples which showed 50.0 ± 3.7% mutant mRNA. In accordance with studies that showed clinical variability in patients with the exact same mutation, we observed variability on the functional single cell level in patients with the R278C mutation. These differences in myofilament properties could not be explained by differences in the amount of mutant protein. Conclusions: Using troponin exchange in single human cardiomyocytes, we show that TNNT2 mutation-induced changes in myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity depend on mutation location, while all mutants show reduced thin filament binding affinity. The specific mutation-effect observed for R278C could not be translated to myofilament function of cardiomyocytes from patients, and is most likely explained by other (post)-translational troponin modifications. Overall, our studies illustrate that mutation location underlies variability in myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity, while only the R278C mutation shows a highly dose-dependent effect on myofilament function.

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Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Department of Cardiology

Schuldt, M. (Maike), Johnston, J.R. (Jamie R.), He, H. (Huan), Huurman, R., Pei, J. (Jiayi), Harakalova, M., … van der Velden, J. (Jolanda). (2021). Mutation location of HCM-causing troponin T mutations defines the degree of myofilament dysfunction in human cardiomyocytes. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 150, 77–90. doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2020.10.006