, Volume 190, Issue 1-2, pp 9-32

Troponin I: Inhibitor or facilitator

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Abstract

TN-I occurs as a homologous group of proteins which form part of the regulatory system of vertebrate and invertebrate striated muscle. These proteins are present in vertebrate muscle as isoforms, Mr 21000-24000, that are specific for the muscle type and under individual genetic control. TN-I occupies a central position in the chain of events starting with the binding of calcium to troponin C and ending with activation of the Ca2+ stimulated MgATPase of the actomyosin filament in muscle. The ability of TN-I to inhibit the MgATPase of actomyosin in a manner that is accentuated by tropomyosin is fundamental to its role but the molecular mechanism involved is not yet completely understood. For the actomyosin ATPase to be regulated the interaction of TN-I with actin, TN-C and TN-T must undergo changes as the calcium concentration in the muscle cell rises, which result in the loss of its inhibitory activity. A variety of techniques have enabled the sites of interaction to be defined in terms of regions of the polypeptide chain that must be intact to preserve the biological properties of TN-I. There is also evidence for conformational changes that occur when the complex with TN-C binds calcium. Nevertheless a detailed high resolution structure of the troponin complex and its relation to actin/tropomyosin is not yet available. TN-I induces changes in those proteins with which it interacts, that are essential for their function. In the special case of cardiac TN-I its effect on the calcium binding properties of TN-C is modulated by phosphorylation. It has yet to be determined whether TN-I acts directly as an inhibitor or indirectly by interacting with associated proteins to facilitate their role in the regulatory system.