Effects of cardiomyopathic mutations on the biochemical and biophysical properties of the human alpha-tropomyosin
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Mutations in the protein alpha-tropomyosin (Tm) can cause a disease known as familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In order to understand how such mutations lead to protein dysfunction, three point mutations were introduced into cDNA encoding the human skeletal tropomyosin, and the recombinant Tms were produced at high levels in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Two mutations (A63V and K70T) were located in the N-terminal region of Tm and one (E180G) was located close to the calcium-dependent troponin T binding domain. The functional and structural properties of the mutant Tms were compared to those of the wild type protein. None of the mutations altered the head-to-tail polymerization, although slightly higher actin binding was observed in the mutant Tm K70T, as demonstrated in a cosedimentation assay. The mutations also did not change the cooperativity of the thin filament activation by increasing the concentrations of Ca2+. However, in the absence of troponin, all mutant Tms were less effective than the wild type in regulating the actomyosin subfragment 1 Mg2+ ATPase activity. Circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed no differences in the secondary structure of the Tms. However, the thermally induced unfolding, as monitored by circular dichroism or differential scanning calorimetry, demonstrated that the mutants were less stable than the wild type. These results indicate that the main effect of the mutations is related to the overall stability of Tm as a whole, and that the mutations have only minor effects on the cooperative interactions among proteins that constitute the thin filament.