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Mutation of the high affinity calcium binding sites in cardiac troponin C.

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      Fast skeletal and cardiac troponin C (TnC) contain two high affinity Ca2+/Mg2+ binding sites within the C-terminal domain that are thought to be important for association of TnC with the troponin complex of the thin filament. To test directly the function of these high affinity sites in cardiac TnC they were systematically altered by mutagenesis to generate proteins with a single inactive site III or IV (CBM-III and CBM-IV, respectively), or with both sites III and IV inactive (CBM-III-IV). Equilibrium dialysis indicated that the mutated sites did not bind Ca2+ at pCa 4. Both CBM-III and CBM-IV were similar to the wild type protein in their ability to regulate Ca(2+)-dependent contraction in slow skeletal muscle fibers, and Ca(2+)-dependent ATPase activity in fast skeletal and cardiac muscle myofibrils. The mutant CBM-III-IV is capable of regulating contraction in permeabilized slow muscle fibers but only if the fibers are maintained in a contraction solution containing a high concentration of the mutant protein. CBM-III-IV also regulates myofibril ATPase activity in fast skeletal and cardiac myofibrils but only at concentrations 10-100-fold greater than the normal protein. The pCa50 and Hill coefficient values for Ca(2+)-dependent activation of fast skeletal muscle myofibril ATPase activity by the normal protein and all three mutants are essentially the same. Competition between active and inactive forms of cardiac and slow TnC in a functional assay demonstrates that mutation of both sites III and IV greatly reduces the affinity of cardiac and slow TnC for its functionally relevant binding site in the myofibrils. The data indicate that although neither high affinity site is absolutely essential for regulation of muscle contraction in vitro, at least one active C-terminal site is required for tight association of cardiac troponin C with myofibrils. This requirement can be satisfied by either site III or IV.

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