What is it about?

The efficiency of the heart as a pump depends on an auto-regulatory mechanism called the Frank-Starling law of the heart, the molecular basis of which is not understood. The law states that the strength of the heartbeat increases in response to an increase in the volume of blood in the ventricles. We used fluorescent probes on myosin in heart muscle cells to investigate the molecular mechanism of this phenomenon.

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Why is it important?

Because the Frank-Starling mechanism might be depressed or absent in failing human heart, this myosin-based regulation of cardiac contractility represents a primary target for the development of new pharmacological approaches to treat heart failure.


Theories about the molecular basis of the Frank-Starling Law of the Heart have been puzzling and controversial. Our results show that the myosin-based regulation of heart contractility underlies this phenomenon and can potentially be targeted for treating heart failure

Luca Fusi
King's College London

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This page is a summary of: Stress-dependent activation of myosin in the heart requires thin filament activation and thick filament mechanosensing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2023706118.
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