The emerging role of calmodulin regulation of RyR2 in controlling heart rhythm, the progression of heart failure and the antiarrhythmic action of dantrolene
Cardiac output and rhythm depend on the release and the take‐up of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Excessive diastolic calcium leak from the SR due to dysfunctional calcium release channels (RyR2) contributes to the formation of delayed after‐depolarizations, which underlie the fatal arrhythmias that occur in heart failure and inherited syndromes. Calmodulin (CaM) is a calcium‐binding protein that regulates target proteins and acts as a calcium sensor. CaM is comprised of two calcium‐binding EF‐hand domains and a flexible linker. CaM is an accessory protein that partially inhibits RyR2 channel activity. CaM is critical for normal cardiac function, and altered CaM binding and efficacy may contribute to defects in SR calcium release. The present paper reviews CaM binding to RyR2 and how it regulates RyR2 channel activity. It then goes on to review how mutations in the CaM amino acid sequence give rise to inherited syndromes such as Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachychardia (CPVT) and long QT syndrome (LQTS). In addition, the role of reduced CaM binding to RyR2 that results from RyR2 phosphorylation or from oxidation of either RyR2 or CaM contributes to the progression of heart failure is reviewed. Finally, this manuscript reviews recent evidence that CaM binding to RyR2 is required for the inhibitory action of a pharmaceutical agent (dantrolene) on RyR2. Dantrolene is a clinically used muscle relaxant that has recently been found to exert antiarrhythmic effects against SR Ca2+ overload arrhythmias.
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