A new study has shed light on what powers the pumping heart.
Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps — a phenomenon known as contractility.
Led by University of Toronto Physiology Professor Anthony Gramolini and his collaborator, Professor Thomas Kislinger in the Department of Medical Biophysics, the team used high-throughput methods to identify more than 500 membrane proteins on the surfaces of cardiac contractile cells, which are likely to have a critical role in normal heart function.
The proteins may also play a part in heart failure and abnormal heartbeat patterns known as arrhythmias.
In addition to providing a new understanding of what makes our hearts pump, these findings could also help researchers uncover new information about how heart disease affects the signal pathways in our hearts. That might pave the way to find ways to prevent or reverse those changes, said Gramolini.
During the study, the researchers found about 500 novel molecules that have been conserved throughout evolution. These molecules haven’t been studied in the heart and little is known about what they do in other tissues.
Gramolini says the findings are essential for understanding cardiac biology and hopes they open the door for further study into health and disease in his lab and others.
The study is published in Nature Communications.