Integrins Increase Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Activity for Excitation-Contraction Coupling in Human Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes

Brian X Wang, Christopher Kane, Laura Nicastro, Oisín King, Worrapong Kit-Anan, Barrett Downing, Graziano Deidda, Liam S Couch, Christian Pinali, Anna Mitraki, Kenneth T MacLeod, Cesare M Terracciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engagement of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ stores for excitation-contraction (EC)-coupling is a fundamental feature of cardiac muscle cells. Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that form the extracellular scaffolding supporting cardiac contractile activity are thought to play an integral role in the modulation of EC-coupling. At baseline, human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) show poor utilisation of SR Ca2+ stores, leading to inefficient EC-coupling, like developing or human CMs in cardiac diseases such as heart failure. We hypothesised that integrin ligand-receptor interactions between ECM proteins and CMs recruit the SR to Ca2+ cycling during EC-coupling. hiPSC-CM monolayers were cultured on fibronectin-coated glass before 24 h treatment with fibril-forming peptides containing the integrin-binding tripeptide sequence arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (2 mM). Micropipette application of 40 mM caffeine in standard or Na+/Ca2+-free Tyrode's solutions was used to assess the Ca2+ removal mechanisms. Microelectrode recordings were conducted to analyse action potentials in current-clamp. Confocal images of labelled hiPSC-CMs were analysed to investigate hiPSC-CM morphology and ultrastructural arrangements in Ca2+ release units. This study demonstrates that peptides containing the integrin-binding sequence arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (1) abbreviate hiPSC-CM Ca2+ transient and action potential duration, (2) increase co-localisation between L-type Ca2+ channels and ryanodine receptors involved in EC-coupling, and (3) increase the rate of SR-mediated Ca2+ cycling. We conclude that integrin-binding peptides induce recruitment of the SR for Ca2+ cycling in EC-coupling through functional and structural improvements and demonstrate the importance of the ECM in modulating cardiomyocyte function in physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10940
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2022


  • Arginine/metabolism
  • Aspartic Acid/metabolism
  • Caffeine/pharmacology
  • Calcium/metabolism
  • Fibronectins/metabolism
  • Glycine/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Integrins/metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel/metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum/metabolism


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