Nuclear cardiac troponin and tropomyosin are expressed early in cardiac differentiation of rat mesenchymal stem cells

Faizal Z. Asumda, P. Bryant Chase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Nuclear actin - which is immunologically distinct from cytoplasmic actin - has been documented in a number of differentiated cell types, and cardiac isoforms of troponin I (cTnI) and troponin T (cTnT) have been detected in association with nuclei of adult human cardiac myocytes. It is not known whether these and related proteins are present in undifferentiated stem cells, or when they appear in cardiomyogenic cells following differentiation. We first tested the hypothesis that nuclear actin and cardiac isoforms of troponin C (cTnC) and tropomyosin (cTm) are present along with cTnI and cTnT in nuclei of isolated, neonatal rat cardiomyocytes in culture. We also tested the hypothesis that of these five proteins, only actin is present in nuclei of multipotent, bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) from adult rats in culture, but that cTnC, cTnI, cTnT and cTm appear early and uniquely following cardiomyogenic differentiation. Here we show that nuclear actin is present within nuclei of both ventricular cardiomyocytes and undifferentiated, multipotent BM-MSCs. We furthermore show that cTnC, cTnI, cTnT and cTm are not only present in myofilaments of ventricular cardiomyocytes in culture but are also within their nuclei; significantly, these four proteins appear between days 3 and 5 in both myofilaments and nuclei of BM-MSCs treated to differentiate into cardiomyogenic cells. These observations indicate that cardiac troponin and tropomyosin could have important cellular function(s) beyond Ca 2+-regulation of contraction. While the roles of nuclear-associated actin, troponin subunits and tropomyosin in cardiomyocytes are not known, we anticipate that the BM-MSC culture system described here will be useful for elucidating their function(s), which likely involve cardiac-specific, Ca 2+-dependent signaling in the nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin
  • Cardiomyocyte
  • Nuclear localization
  • Stem cell differentiation
  • Tropomyosin
  • Troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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