Phosphorylation of serine96 of histidine-rich calcium-binding protein by the Fam20C kinase functions to prevent cardiac arrhythmia

Adam J. Pollak, Kobra Haghighi, Swati Kunduri, Demetrios A. Arvanitis, Philip A. Bidwell, Guan Sheng Liu, Vivek P. Singh, David J. Gonzalez, Despina Sanoudou, Sandra E. Wiley, Jack E. Dixon, Evangelia G. Kranias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Precise Ca cycling through the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), a Ca storage organelle, is critical for proper cardiac muscle function. This cycling initially involves SR release of Ca via the ryanodine receptor, which is regulated by its interacting proteins junctin and triadin. The sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca ATPase (SERCA) pump then refills SR Ca stores. Histidine-rich Ca-binding protein (HRC) resides in the lumen of the SR, where it contributes to the regulation of Ca cycling by protecting stressed or failing hearts. The common Ser96Ala human genetic variant of HRC strongly correlates with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. However, the underlying molecular pathways of this disease remain undefined. Here, we demonstrate that family with sequence similarity 20C (Fam20C), a recently characterized protein kinase in the secretory pathway, phosphorylates HRC on Ser96. HRC Ser96 phosphorylation was confirmed in cells and human hearts. Furthermore, a Ser96Asp HRC variant, which mimics constitutive phosphorylation of Ser96, diminished delayed aftercontractions in HRC null cardiac myocytes. This HRC phosphomimetic variant was also able to rescue the aftercontractions elicited by the Ser96Ala variant, demonstrating that phosphorylation of Ser96 is critical for the cardioprotective function of HRC. Phosphorylation of HRC on Ser96 regulated the interactions of HRC with both triadin and SERCA2a, suggesting a unique mechanism for regulation of SR Ca homeostasis. This demonstration of the role of Fam20C-dependent phosphorylation in heart disease will open new avenues for potential therapeutic approaches against arrhythmias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9098-9103
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 22 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank Carolyn Worby and Jixin Cui for valuable input. This work was supported by grants from the NIH (Grant 3T32HL007444-34S1 to A.J.P., Grants DK018849-41 and DK018024-43 to J.E.D., and Grants HL26057 and HL64018 to E.G.K.), the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under Grant Agreement HEALTH-F2-2009-241526 [EUTrigTreat (European Union Trigger Treatment)], and the Hellenic Cardiological Society.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Arrhythmia
  • Fam20C kinase
  • Heart
  • Histidine-rich calcium-binding protein
  • Phosphorylation


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