Regulation of cardiac myocyte protein turnover and myofibrillar structure in vitro by specific directions of stretch.

D. G. Simpson, M. Majeski, T. K. Borg, L. Terracio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have examined how different degrees (0.5%, 1.0%, 2.5%, 5.0%, and 10.0%) and directions of stretch regulate the turnover and accumulation of contractile proteins in cultured neonatal cardiac myocytes (NCMs). In pulse-chase experiments, stellate-shaped NCMs with random arrays of myofibrils (MFs) exhibited a threshold response to stretch. With respect to unstretched controls, the turnover of the contractile protein pool was suppressed 50% to 100% in stellate NCMs stretched 1.0% to 5.0% and was unaltered in stellate NCMs stretched 0.5% or 10.0%. The posttranslational metabolism of myosin heavy chain (MHC) and actin was regulated in parallel with the total contractile protein pool. The turnover of the cytoplasmic protein pool remained unchanged in response to stretch. NCMs plated onto an aligned matrix of type I collagen expressed an elongated, rod-like cell shape. The MFs of these cells were distributed in parallel with one another along a single unique axis. The tissue-like pattern of organization of these cultures made it possible to assay how specific directions of stretch affected cardiac protein turnover and MF organization. In pulse-chase experiments, stretch in parallel with the MFs did not alter the turnover of the total contractile protein pool, the cytoplasmic protein pool, MHC, or actin. The total cellular concentration of MHC and actin remained constant, and MF alignment was not overtly affected. In contrast, even modest degrees of stretch across the short axis of the MFs suppressed total contractile protein turnover, the turnover of MHC and actin, and promoted the accumulation of these MF subunits. The parallel alignment of MFs deteriorated in myocytes stretched greater than 5%. The characteristic response of aligned myocytes to stretch was not affected by the contractile state of the cells. Isoproterenol (ISO) treatment in concert with stretch in parallel with the MFs modestly accelerated contractile protein turnover. Conversely, contractile protein turnover was suppressed in cells treated with ISO and stretched across the short axis of the MFs. Contractile arrest with nifedipine (NIFED) accelerated total myofibrillar protein turnover. Stretch across the short axis, but not in parallel with the MFs, suppressed protein turnover in cells treated with NIFED. The turnover of the cytosolic proteins remained constant under all conditions assayed. These data suggest that specific directions of stretch may play a crucial role in regulating MF organization and the metabolism of contractile proteins in the cardiac myocyte.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e59-69
JournalCirculation research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 12 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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