Projects per year
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading health burden worldwide and with the rising rates in obesity and type II diabetes and ongoing effects of long COVID, it is anticipated that the burden of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality will increase. Calcium is essential to cardiac excitation and contraction. The main route for Ca2+ influx is the L-type Ca2+ channel (Cav1.2) and embryos that are homozygous null for the Cav1.2 gene are lethal at day 14 postcoitum. Acute changes in Ca2+ influx through the channel contribute to arrhythmia and sudden death, and chronic increases in intracellular Ca2+ contribute to pathological hypertrophy and heart failure. We use a multidisciplinary approach to study the regulation of the channel from the molecular level through to in vivo CRISPR mutant animal models. Here we describe some examples of our work from over 2 decades studying the role of the channel under physiological and pathological conditions. Our single channel analysis of purified human Cav1.2 protein in proteoliposomes has contributed to understanding direct molecular regulation of the channel including identifying the critical serine involved in the “fight or flight” response. Using the same approach we identified the cysteine responsible for altered function during oxidative stress. Chronic activation of the L-type Ca2+ channel during oxidative stress occurs as a result of persistent glutathionylation of the channel that contributes to the development of hypertrophy. We describe for the first time that activation of the channel alters mitochondrial function (and energetics) on a beat-to-beat basis via movement of cytoskeletal proteins. In translational studies we have used this response to “report” mitochondrial function in models of cardiomyopathy and to test efficacy of novel therapies to prevent cardiomyopathy.
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1/01/18 → 31/12/22
1/01/17 → 31/12/21