Stress signaling in the myocardium results in enhanced expression of embryonic β-myosin heavy chain (β-MyHC) and reduced expression of adult α-myosin heavy chain (α-MyHC), with the net outcome of diminished myofibrillar ATPase activity and impaired contractility. Pharmacological approaches aimed at preventing this myosin isoform “switch” could provide therapeutic benefit to patients with heart failure. Myosin isoform protein expression is typically quantified using gel electrophoresis methods, which are time-consuming and prone to variability. Here we describe a facile, reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for rapidly determining the relative amounts of full-length α- and β-MyHC in rat hearts. The assay was validated using cardiac tissues from rats in which a key transcriptional regulator of MyHC expression, the thyroid hormone receptor, was pharmacologically manipulated. This novel assay should facilitate drug discovery efforts focused on the MyHC axis.
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