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Scientists from the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine have made a breakthrough in understanding the heart’s molecular composition. By studying myosin filaments, researchers gained insight into the intricate structure of the heart and its role in muscle function. This discovery solves a 60-year-old mystery surrounding the heart.

Three different “crowns” in myosin filaments have different interactions

The human heart is composed of numerous cells, each housing sarcomeres, and the fundamental units of heart muscle. Sarcomeres contain myosin filaments, and scientists compare studying them to examining individual strands of hair on a heart the size of a continent.

Scientists have discovered that each filament in the heart muscle is composed of roughly 2,000 molecules. These molecules are arranged in a complex structure that has puzzled researchers for decades. The study reveals that there are three distinct types of “crowns” within the myosin filaments, each with unique interactions. This finding indicates that the control of the heart muscle is more precise than previously thought.

The researchers also observed the arrangement of myosin-binding protein-C, which is linked to genetic heart disease, within this structure. This discovery deepens the understanding of the organization of molecules in the heart.

Study author Dr Kenneth Campbell from the UK college of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Medicine Division in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School worked to produce enhanced 3D reconstructions of the cardiac filaments.  Their ground-breaking work offers a fresh perspective for understanding physiological, structural and clinical observations.

Latest discovery will help in development of novel treatments for heart disease

Dr. Campbell emphasizes the broader implications of this research beyond the confines of the laboratory. He highlights the significance of this study in the context of discovering novel drug therapies for heart disease, particularly in Kentucky where there is a pressing need. Further, Dr Campbell emphasizes that this breakthrough provides a more comprehensive understanding of the intricate interactions among the molecules in our hearts.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky, placing the state in the top 10 for highest death rates.