Type 1 ryanodine receptor (RYR1) is a Ca2+ release channel in the sarcoplasmic reticulum in skeletal muscle and plays an important role in excitation–contraction coupling. Mutations in the RYR1 gene cause severe muscle diseases such as malignant hyperthermia (MH), which is a disorder of CICR via RYR1. Thus far, >300 mutations in RYR1 have been reported in patients with MH. However, owing to a lack of comprehensive analysis of the structure–function relationship of mutant RYR1, the mechanism remains largely unknown. Here, we combined functional studies and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of RYR1 bearing disease-associated mutations at the N-terminal region. When expressed in HEK293 cells, the mutant RYR1 caused abnormalities in Ca2+ homeostasis. MD simulations of WT and mutant RYR1s were performed using crystal structure of the N-terminal domain (NTD) monomer, consisting of A, B, and C domains. We found that the mutations located around the interdomain region differentially affected hydrogen bonds/salt bridges. Particularly, mutations at R402, which increase the open probability of the channel, cause clockwise rotation of BC domains with respect to the A domain by alteration of the interdomain interactions. Similar results were also obtained with artificial mutations that mimic alteration of the interactions. Our results reveal the importance of interdomain interactions within the NTD in the regulation of the RYR1 channel and provide insights into the mechanism of MH caused by the mutations at the NTD.

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