Heart Disease

The heart relaxes and contracts once per second, we are studying the molecular origins of this process


The heart like any muscle is a highly organised machine that requires its components to be finely tuned. Part of the control of contraction occurs through calcium delivery to control proteins that reside on the thin filament. This structure is composed of actin and a number of proteins, mutations in any of these proteins are associated with cardiomyopathies. We have developed an assay that allows us to detect single fluorescently tageed myosin molecules binding to the thin filament. We can alter calcium levels resulting in changes in the level of myosin binding. Using real-time observation coupled with analytical chemical kinetic models we are able to conclude the following:


  • Myosin permits the binding of 12 further myosins

  • Activation is a two-step process

  • It takes two myosins to activate a thin filament


Research Sponsored by:

British Heart Foundation