Cardiac myosin-binding protein C interaction with actin is inhibited by compounds identified in a high-throughput fluorescence lifetime screen

Thomas A. Bunch, Piyali Guhathakurta, Victoria C. Lepak, Andrew R. Thompson, Rhye Samuel Kanassatega, Anna Wilson, David D. Thomas, Brett A. Colson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBP-C) interacts with actin and myosin to modulate cardiac muscle contractility. These interactions are disfavored by cMyBP-C phosphorylation. Heart failure patients often display decreased cMyBP-C phosphorylation, and phosphorylation in model systems has been shown to be cardioprotective against heart failure. Therefore, cMyBP-C is a potential target for heart failure drugs that mimic phosphorylation or perturb its interactions with actin/myosin. Here we have used a novel fluorescence lifetime-based assay to identify small-molecule inhibitors of actin-cMyBP-C binding. Actin was labeled with a fluorescent dye (Alexa Fluor 568, AF568) near its cMyBP-C binding sites; when combined with the cMyBP-C N-terminal fragment, C0-C2, the fluorescence lifetime of AF568-actin decreases. Using this reduction in lifetime as a readout of actin binding, a high-throughput screen of a 1280-compound library identified three reproducible hit compounds (suramin, NF023, and aurintricarboxylic acid) that reduced C0-C2 binding to actin in the micromolar range. Binding of phosphorylated C0-C2 was also blocked by these compounds. That they specifically block binding was confirmed by an actin-C0-C2 time-resolved FRET (TR-FRET) binding assay. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and transient phosphorescence anisotropy (TPA) confirmed that these compounds bind to cMyBP-C, but not to actin. TPA results were also consistent with these compounds inhibiting C0-C2 binding to actin. We conclude that the actin-cMyBP-C fluorescence lifetime assay permits detection of pharmacologically active compounds that affect cMyBP-C-actin binding. We now have, for the first time, a validated high-throughput screen focused on cMyBP-C, a regulator of cardiac muscle contractility and known key factor in heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100840
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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