Grants awarded

Dynamic regulation of the heartbeat by myosin filaments  

Grantholder:

Prof Malcolm Irving

King's College London

United Kingdom

Contraction of heart muscle is similar to limb muscles as it is driven by the sliding action between thick and thin protein filaments. Contraction of both types of muscle was thought to be controlled by structural changes in the thin filaments. However, we recently discovered that the strength and speed of contraction in limb muscles is controlled by structural changes in the thick filaments. 

We will investigate how the thick filament control system works in the heart and how it adjusts the strength and speed of the heartbeat in response to the body’s needs. 

Understanding the control of the heartbeat at this level will help to design, develop and test new drugs to improve the function of the failing heart and the quality of life of people with heart disease.