The cardiac and skeletal TnI inhibitory regions have identical sequences except at position 110 which contains Pro in the skeletal sequence and Thr in the cardiac sequence. The effect of the synthetic TnI inhibitory peptides [skeletal TnI peptide (104-115), cardiac TnI peptide (137-148), and a single Gly-substituted analogue at position 110] on the secondary structure of skeletal and cardiac TnC was investigated. The biphasic increases in ellipticity and tyrosine fluorescence were analyzed to determine the Ca2+ binding constants for the high- and low-affinity Ca2+ binding sites of TnC. Importantly, the skeletal and cardiac TnI peptides altered Ca2+ binding at the low-affinity sites of TnC, but the magnitude and direction of the pCa shifts depended on whether the peptides were bound to skeletal or cardiac TnC. For example, binding of skeletal TnI peptide to skeletal TnC (monitored by CD) caused a pCa shift of +0.30 unit such that a lower Ca2+ concentration was required to fill sites I and II, while binding of this peptide to cardiac TnC caused a pCa shift of -0.35 unit such that a higher Ca2+ concentration was required to fill site II. This is the first report of the alteration at the low-affinity regulatory sites (located in the N-terminal domain) by the skeletal TnI inhibitory peptide, even though the primary peptide binding site is located in the C-terminal domain of TnC, a finding which strongly indicates that there is communication between the two halves of the TnC molecule. As well, the amino acid residue at position 110 of the skeletal TnI sequence is critical, since the Gly-substituted analogue mainly affects the high-affinity Ca2+ binding sites. It is clear that the single amino acid difference in the TnI inhibitory sequence is partly responsible for the biological differences between skeletal and cardiac muscle.
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