Catecholaminergic-induced arrhythmias in failing cardiomyocytes associated with human HRCS96A variant overexpression
The histidine-rich calcium binding protein (HRC) Ser96Ala polymorphism was shown to correlate with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death only in dilated cardiomyopathy patients but not in healthy human carriers. In the present study, we assessed the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying human arrhythmias by adenoviral expression of the human wild-type (HRC(WT)) or mutant HRC (HRC(S96A)) in adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes. Total HRC protein was increased by ∼50% in both HRC(WT)- and HRC(S96A)-infected cells. The HRC(S96A) mutant exacerbated the inhibitory effects of HRC(WT) on the amplitude of Ca(2+) transients, prolongation of Ca(2+) decay time, and caffeine-induced sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) release. Consistent with these findings, HRC(S96A) reduced maximal sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium uptake rate to a higher extent than HRC(WT). Furthermore, the frequency of spontaneous Ca(2+) sparks, which was reduced by HRC(WT), was increased by mutant HRC(S96A) under resting conditions although there were no spontaneous Ca(2+) waves under stress conditions. However, expression of the HRC(S96A) genetic variant in cardiomyocytes from a rat model of postmyocardial infarction heart failure induced dramatic disturbances of rhythmic Ca(2+) transients. These findings indicate that the HRC Ser96Ala variant increases the propensity of arrhythmogenic Ca(2+) waves in the stressed failing heart, suggesting a link between this genetic variant and life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in human carriers.