A physical association between the II–III loop of the DHPR (dihydropryidine receptor) and the RyR (ryanodine receptor) is essential for excitation–contraction coupling in skeletal, but not cardiac, muscle. However, peptides corresponding to a part of the II–III loop interact with the cardiac RyR2 suggesting the possibility of a physical coupling between the proteins. Whether the full II–III loop and its functionally important ‘C’ region (cardiac DHPR residues 855–891 or skeletal 724–760) interact with cardiac RyR2 is not known and is examined in the present study. Both the cardiac DHPR II–III loop (CDCL) and cardiac peptide (Cc) activated RyR2 channels at concentrations >10 nM. The skeletal DHPR II–III loop (SDCL) activated channels at ≤100 nM and weakly inhibited at ≥1 μM. In contrast, skeletal peptide (Cs) inhibited channels at all concentrations when added alone, or was ineffective if added in the presence of Cc. Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release from cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum was enhanced by CDCL, SDCL and the C peptides. The results indicate that the interaction between the II–III loop and RyR2 depends critically on the ‘A’ region (skeletal DHPR residues 671–690 or cardiac 793–812) and also involves the C region. Structure analysis indicated that (i) both Cs and Cc are random coil at room temperature, but, at 5 °C, have partial helical regions in their N-terminal and central parts, and (ii) secondary-structure profiles for CDCL and SDCL are similar. The data provide novel evidence that the DHPR II–III loop and its C region interact with cardiac RyR2, and that the ability to interact is not isoform-specific.

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