The control of intracellular calcium is central to regulation of cardiac contractility. A defect in SR Ca(2+)transport and SR Ca(2+)ATPase pump activity and expression level has been implicated as a major player in cardiac dysfunction. However, a precise cause-effect relationship between alterations in SERCA pump level and cardiac contractility could not be established from these studies. Progress in transgenic mouse technology and adenoviral gene transfer has provided new tools to investigate the role of SERCA pump level in the heart. This review focuses on how alterations in SERCA level affect Ca(2+)homeostasis and cardiac contractility. It discusses the consequences of altered SERCA pump levels for the expression and activity of other Ca(2+)handling proteins. Furthermore, the use of SERCA pump as a therapeutic target for gene therapy of heart failure is evaluated.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.