Calmodulin mutations associated with long QT syndrome prevent inactivation of cardiac L-type Ca2+ currents and promote proarrhythmic behavior in ventricular myocytes

Worawan B. Limpitikul, Ivy E. Dick, Rosy Joshi-Mukherjee, Michael T. Overgaard, Alfred L. George, David T. Yue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Recent work has identified missense mutations in calmodulin (CaM) that are associated with severe early-onset long-QT syndrome (LQTS), leading to the proposition that altered CaM function may contribute to the molecular etiology of this subset of LQTS. To date, however, no experimental evidence has established these mutations as directly causative of LQTS substrates, nor have the molecular targets of CaM mutants been identified. Here, therefore, we test whether expression of CaM mutants in adult guinea-pig ventricular myocytes (aGPVM) induces action-potential prolongation, and whether affiliated alterations in the Ca2+ regulation of L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCC) might contribute to such prolongation. In particular, we first overexpressed CaM mutants in aGPVMs, and observed both increased action potential duration (APD) and heightened Ca2+ transients. Next, we demonstrated that all LQTS CaM mutants have the potential to strongly suppress Ca2+/CaM-dependent inactivation (CDI) of LTCCs, whether channels were heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells, or present in native form within myocytes. This attenuation of CDI is predicted to promote action-potential prolongation and boost Ca2+ influx. Finally, we demonstrated how a small fraction of LQTS CaM mutants (as in heterozygous patients) would nonetheless suffice to substantially diminish CDI, and derange electrical and Ca2+ profiles. In all, these results highlight LTCCs as a molecular locus for understanding and treating CaM-related LQTS in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • APD prolongation
  • Calmodulin
  • Long-QT syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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