The miscommunicative cardiac cell: When good proteins go bad

Aldrin V Gomes, Gayathri Venkatraman, James D. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Troponin (Tn) is made up of three subunits, troponin T (TnT), troponin I (TnI), and troponin C (TnC). In cardiac muscle, TnI can exist as two isoforms, slow skeletal TnI (ssTnI) or cardiac TnI (cTnI), whereas TnT occurs as multiple isoforms. The predominant form of TnI in fetal cardiac muscle is ssTnI, which is derived from a different gene than cTnI. However, the predominant form of cardiac TnT (cTnT) in fetal muscle is cTnT1, which is derived from the same gene that produces the adult cTnT isoform (cTnT3). Fetal cardiac muscle is more sensitive to Ca2+ than adult muscle and this may be due in part to the fetal cTnT1 and ssTnI isoforms. cTnT1 and/or ssTnI by themselves cause a significant increase in Ca2+ sensitivity when compared to cTnT3 and/or cTnI. Mutations in the gene for cTnT can cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Investigation of DCM mutations in the fetal cTnT1 isoform showed that the cTnT isoform is an important determinant of the effect of the mutation. The TnI isoform also affects the physiological function of the cardiac muscle. The presence of both the fetal TnT isoform, containing a DCM mutation, and ssTnI results in larger changes in Ca2+ sensitivity than the same DCM mutant in the adult TnT isoform and in the presence of cTnI (when compared to their respective wild-type TnT controls). These recent results suggest that some mutations may have different severities in fetal and adult hearts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Isoforms
  • Troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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