This study states that SERCA [sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum calcium ATPase] is regulated by oxidative posttranslational modifications at cysteine 674 (C674). Because sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium has been shown to play a critical role in mediating mitochondrial dysfunction in response to reactive oxygen species, we hypothesized that SERCA oxidation at C674 would modulate the effects of reactive oxygen species on mitochondrial calcium and mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in cardiac myocytes.

Adult rat ventricular myocytes expressing wild-type SERCA2b or a redox-insensitive mutant in which C674 is replaced by serine (C674S) were exposed to H2O2 (100 µmol/Lμ). Free mitochondrial calcium concentration was measured in adult rat ventricular myocytes with a genetically targeted fluorescent probe, and SR calcium content was assessed by measuring caffeine-stimulated release. Mice with heterozygous knock-in of the SERCA C674S mutation were subjected to chronic ascending aortic constriction. In adult rat ventricular myocytes expressing wild-type SERCA, H2O2 caused a 25% increase in mitochondrial calcium concentration that was associated with a 50% decrease in SR calcium content, both of which were prevented by the ryanodine receptor inhibitor tetracaine.