Troponin C modulates the activation of thin filaments by rigor cross-bridges.
Extraction of troponin C (TnC) from skinned muscle fibers reduces maximum Ca2+ and rigor cross-bridge (RXB)-activated tensions and reduces cooperativity between neighboring regulatory units (one troponin-tropomyosin complex and the seven associated actins) of thin filaments. This suggests that TnC has a determining role in RXB, as well as in Ca(2+)-dependent activation processes. To investigate this possibility further, we replaced fast TnC (fTnC) of rabbit psoas fibers with either CaM[3,4TnC] or cardiac TnC (cTnC) and compared the effects of these substitutions on Ca2+ and RXB activation of tension. CaM[3,4TnC] substitution has the same effect on Ca(2+)- and RXB-activated tensions; they are reduced 50%, and cooperativity between regulatory units is reduced 40%. cTnC substitution also reduces the maximum Ca(2+)-activated tension and cooperativity. But with RXB activation the effects on tension and cooperativity are opposite; cTnC substitution potentiates tension but reduces cooperativity. We considered whether tension potentiation could be explained by increased activation by cycling cross-bridges (CXBs), but the concerted transition formalism predicts fibers will fail to relax in high substrate and high pCa when CXBs are activator ligands. It predicts resting tension, which is not observed in either control or cTnC-substituted fibers. Rather, it appears that cTnC facilitates RXB activation of fast fibers more effectively than fTnC. The order of RXB-activated tension facilitation is cTnC > fTnC > CaM[3,4TnC] > empty TnC-binding sites. Comparison of the structures of fTnC, CaM[3,4TnC], and cTnC indicates that the critical region for this property lies in the central helix or N-terminal domain, including EF hand motifs 1 and 2.
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