The sarcomeric titin springs influence myocardial distensibility and passive stiffness. Titin isoform composition and protein kinase (PK)A-dependent titin phosphorylation are variables contributing to diastolic heart function. However, diastolic tone, relaxation speed, and left ventricular extensibility are also altered by PKG activation. We used back-phosphorylation assays to determine whether PKG can phosphorylate titin and affect titin-based stiffness in skinned myofibers and isolated myofibrils. PKG in the presence of 8-pCPT-cGMP (cGMP) phosphorylated the 2 main cardiac titin isoforms, N2BA and N2B, in human and canine left ventricles. In human myofibers/myofibrils dephosphorylated before mechanical analysis, passive stiffness dropped 10% to 20% on application of cGMP-PKG. Autoradiography and anti-phosphoserine blotting of recombinant human I-band titin domains established that PKG phosphorylates the N2-B and N2-A domains of titin. Using site-directed mutagenesis, serine residue S469 near the COOH terminus of the cardiac N2-B-unique sequence (N2-Bus) was identified as a PKG and PKA phosphorylation site. To address the mechanism of the PKG effect on titin stiffness, single-molecule atomic force microscopy force-extension experiments were performed on engineered N2-Bus-containing constructs. The presence of cGMP-PKG increased the bending rigidity of the N2-Bus to a degree that explained the overall PKG-mediated decrease in cardiomyofibrillar stiffness. Thus, the mechanically relevant site of PKG-induced titin phosphorylation is most likely in the N2-Bus; phosphorylation of other titin sites could affect protein-protein interactions. The results suggest that reducing titin stiffness by PKG-dependent phosphorylation of the N2-Bus can benefit diastolic function. Failing human hearts revealed a deficit for basal titin phosphorylation compared to donor hearts, which may contribute to diastolic dysfunction in heart failure.
- Diastolic function
- Nitric oxide
- Passive tension
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine