Inherited cardiomyopathy (CM) represents a diverse group of cardiac muscle diseases that present with a broad spectrum of symptoms ranging from benign to highly malignant. Contributing to this genetic complexity and clinical heterogeneity is the emergence of a cohort of patients that are double or compound heterozygotes who have inherited two different CM mutant alleles in the same or different sarcomeric gene. These patients typically have early disease onset with worse clinical outcomes. Little experimental attention has been directed towards elucidating the physiologic basis of double CM mutations at the cellular-molecular level. Here, dual gene transfer to isolated adult rat cardiac myocytes was used to determine the primary effects of co-expressing two different CM-linked mutant proteins on intact cardiac myocyte contractile physiology. Dual expression of two CM mutants, that alone moderately increase myofilament activation, tropomyosin mutant A63V and cardiac troponin mutant R146G, were shown to additively slow myocyte relaxation beyond either mutant studied in isolation. These results were qualitatively similar to a combination of moderate and strong activating CM mutant alleles αTmA63V and cTnI R193H, which approached a functional threshold. Interestingly, a combination of a CM myofilament deactivating mutant, troponin C G159D, together with an activating mutant, cTnIR193H, produced a hybrid phenotype that blunted the strong activating phenotype of cTnIR193H alone. This is evidence of neutralizing effects of activating/deactivating mutant alleles in combination. Taken together, this combinatorial mutant allele functional analysis lends molecular insight into disease severity and forms the foundation for a predictive model to deconstruct the myriad of possible CM double mutations in presenting patients.
Davis, J., & Metzger, J. M. (2010). Combinatorial effects of double cardiomyopathy mutant alleles in rodent myocytes: A predictive cellular model of myofilament dysregulation in disease. PLoS ONE, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009140