Journal of Muscle Research & Cell Motility

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 575–602 | Cite as

Troponin T: genetics, properties and function

  • S. V. Perry


Troponin T (TnT) is present in striated muscle of vertebrates and invertebrates as a group of homologous proteins with molecular weights usually in the 31–36kDa range. It occupies a unique role in the regulatory protein system in that it interacts with TnC and TnI of the troponin complex and the proteins of the myofibrillar thin filament, tropomyosin and actin. In the myofibril the molecule is about 18nm long and for much its length interacts with tropomyosin. The ability of TnT to form a complex with tropomyosin is responsible for locating the troponin complex with a periodicity of 38.5nm along the thin filament of the myofibril. In addition to its structural role, TnT has the important function of transforming the TnI–TnC complex into a system, the inhibitory activity of which, on the tropomyosin–actomyosin MgATPase of the myofibril, becomes sensitive to calcium ions. Different genes control the expression of TnT in fast skeletal, slow skeletal and cardiac muscles. In all muscles, and particularly in fast skeletal, alternative splicing of mRNA produces a series of isoforms in a developmentally regulated manner. In consequence TnT exists in many more isoforms than any of the other thin filament proteins, the TnT superfamily. Despite the general homology of TnT isoforms, this alternative splicing leads to variable regions close to the N-␣and C-termini. As the isoforms have slightly different effects on the calcium sensitivity of the actomyosin MgATPase, modulation of the contractile response to calcium can occur during development and in different muscle types. TnT has recently aroused clinical interest in its potential for detecting myocardial damage and the association of mutations in the cardiac isoform with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Cardiomyopathy Alternative Splice Cardiac Muscle Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Contractile Response 
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