Phosphorylation of the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) is thought to be important not only for normal cardiac excitation-contraction coupling but also in exacerbating abnormalities in Ca2+ homeostasis in heart failure. Linking phosphorylation to specific changes in the single-channel function of RyR2 has proved very difficult, yielding much controversy within the field. We therefore investigated the mechanistic changes that take place at the single-channel level after phosphorylating RyR2 and, in particular, the idea that PKA-dependent phosphorylation increases RyR2 sensitivity to cytosolic Ca2+. We show that hyperphosphorylation by exogenous PKA increases open probability (P(o)) but, crucially, RyR2 becomes uncoupled from the influence of cytosolic Ca2+; lowering [Ca²+] to subactivating levels no longer closes the channels. Phosphatase (PP1) treatment reverses these gating changes, returning the channels to a Ca2+-sensitive mode of gating. We additionally found that cytosolic incubation with Mg2+/ATP in the absence of exogenously added kinase could phosphorylate RyR2 in approximately 50% of channels, thereby indicating that an endogenous kinase incorporates into the bilayer together with RyR2. Channels activated by the endogenous kinase exhibited identical changes in gating behavior to those activated by exogenous PKA, including uncoupling from the influence of cytosolic Ca2+. We show that the endogenous kinase is both Ca2+-dependent and sensitive to inhibitors of PKC. Moreover, the Ca2+-dependent, endogenous kinase-induced changes in RyR2 gating do not appear to be related to phosphorylation of serine-2809. Further work is required to investigate the identity and physiological role of this Ca2+-dependent endogenous kinase that can uncouple RyR2 gating from direct cytosolic Ca2+ regulation.
- Calcium-release channel
- Ryanodine receptor
- excitation-contraction coupling