Obscurins are giant cytoskeletal proteins with structural and regulatory roles. Obscurin-B (~870 kDa), the largest known isoform, contains 2 enzymatically active Ser/Thr kinase (kin) domains, kin1 and kin2, which belong to the myosin light chain kinase family. Kin1 binds to and phosphorylates N-cadherin, a major component of the intercalated disc, the unique sarcolemmal microdomain that mediates the mechanochemical coupling of adjacent cardiomyocytes. Obscurin-B containing kin1 and N-cadherin colocalize at cell junctions in embryonic rat ventricular myocytes (ERVMs), and their codistribution is regulated by Ca2+. Phosphoproteomics analysis revealed that obscurin-kin1 phosphorylates N-cadherin at Ser-788 located within the juxtamembrane region of its cytoplasmic domain, with an apparent Kcat of approximately 5.05 min–1. Overexpression of obscurin-kin1 or phosphomimic-Ser-788-Glu N-cadherin in ERVMs markedly increases cell adhesion and chemical coupling. Importantly, phosphomimic Ser-788-Glu N-cadherin exhibits significantly reduced binding to p120-catenin, while overexpression of phosphoablated Ser-788-Ala N-cadherin increases RhoA activity. Consistent with an essential role of the obscurin-kin1/N-cadherin axis in cardiomyocyte coupling, it is deregulated in end-stage human heart failure. Given the nearly ubiquitous expression of obscurin and N-cadherin, our findings may have broad applicability in deciphering the obscurin-kin1/N-cadherin axis that likely mediates cell coupling in diverse tissues and organs.
Li Wang, Panagiotis Tsakiroglou, Rex Gonzales, Suhan Cho, Amy Li, Cristobal dos Remedios, Nathan Wright, Aikaterini Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos