BACKGROUND - Phospholamban (PLN) is an inhibitor of the Ca affinity of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca-ATPase (SERCA2). The amino acid sequence of PLN is highly conserved, and although all species contain asparagine (Asn), human PLN is unique in containing lysine (Lys) at amino acid 27. METHODS AND RESULTS - Human PLN was introduced in the null background. Expression of human PLN, at similar levels to mouse wild-type PLN, resulted in significant decreases in the affinity of SERCA2 for Ca, attributed to unique spatial conformation of this PLN form and increases in its monomeric active unit compared with mouse PLN. The increased inhibition by human PLN was associated with attenuated cardiac contractility in the intact-animal, organ, and cardiomyocyte levels and with depressed calcium kinetics. These inhibitory effects could not be fully reversed even on maximal isoproterenol stimulation. There were no alterations in the expression levels of SERCA2, calsequestrin, ryanodine receptor, and FKBP12, although the sodium/calcium exchanger and the L-type Ca channel expression levels were upregulated. The depressed function resulted in increased heart/body weight ratios and phosphorylation levels of Akt, p38, and Erk1/2. CONCLUSIONS - Human PLN may play a more inhibitory role than that of other species in Ca cycling. Expression of human PLN in the mouse is compensated by alterations in Ca-handling proteins and cardiac remodeling in an effort to normalize cardiac contractility. Thus, the unique amino acid sequence of human PLN may be critical in maintaining a high cardiac reserve, which is of paramount importance in the regulation of human cardiac function.
- Sarcoplasmic reticulum