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RATIONALE: Subcellular Ca2+ indicators have yet to be developed for the myofilament where disease mutation, or small molecules may alter contractility through myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity. Here we develop and characterise genetically encoded Ca2+ indicators restricted to the myofilament to directly visualise Ca2 changes in the sarcomere. OBJECTIVE: To produce and validate myofilament restricted Ca2+ imaging probes in an adenoviral transduction adult cardiomyocyte model using drugs that alter myofilament function (MYK-461, omecamtiv mecarbil and levosimendan) or following co-transduction of two established hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) disease causing mutants (cTnT R92Q and cTnI R145G) that alter myofilament Ca2+ handling. METHODS AND RESULTS: When expressed in adult ventricular cardiomyocytes RGECO-TnT/TnI sensors localise correctly to the sarcomere without contractile impairment. Both sensors report cyclical changes in fluorescence in paced cardiomyocytes with reduced Ca2+ on and increased Ca2+ off rates compared with unconjugated RGECO. RGECO-TnT/TnI revealed changes to localised Ca2+ handling conferred by MYK-461 and levosimendan, including an increase in Ca2+ binding rates with both levosimendan and MYK-461 not detected by an unrestricted protein sensor. Co-adenoviral transduction of RGECO-TnT/TnI with HCM causing thin filament mutants showed that the mutations increase myofilament [Ca2+] in systole, lengthen time to peak systolic [Ca2+], and delay [Ca2+] release. This contrasts with the effect of the same mutations on cytoplasmic Ca2+, when measured using unrestricted RGECO where changes to peak systolic Ca2+ are inconsistent between the two mutations. These data contrast with previous findings using chemical dyes that show no alteration of [Ca2+] transient amplitude or time to peak Ca2+. CONCLUSIONS: RGECO-TnT/TnI are functionally equivalent. They visualise Ca2+ within the myofilament and reveal unrecognised aspects of small molecule and disease associated mutations in living cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Circ Res

Publication Date



fluorescent imaging, genetically encoded Ca2+ indicators, mechansims