The Frank–Starling relationship establishes that elevated end-diastolic volume progressively increases ventricular pressure and stroke volume in healthy hearts. The relationship is modulated by a number of physiological inputs and is often depressed in human heart failure. Emerging evidence suggests that cardiac myosin-binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) contributes to the Frank–Starling relationship. We measured contractile properties at multiple levels of structural organization to determine the role of cMyBP-C and its phosphorylation in regulating (1) the sarcomere length dependence of power in cardiac myofilaments and (2) the Frank–Starling relationship in vivo. We compared transgenic mice expressing wild-type cMyBP-C on the null background, which have ∼50% phosphorylated cMyBP-C (Controls), to transgenic mice lacking cMyBP-C (KO) and to mice expressing cMyBP-C that have serine-273, -282, and -302 mutated to aspartate (cMyBP-C t3SD) or alanine (cMyBP-C t3SA) on the null background to mimic either constitutive PKA phosphorylation or nonphosphorylated cMyBP-C, respectively. We observed a continuum of length dependence of power output in myocyte preparations. Sarcomere length dependence of power progressively increased with a rank ordering of cMyBP-C KO = cMyBP-C t3SA < Control < cMyBP-C t3SD. Length dependence of myofilament power translated, at least in part, to hearts, whereby Frank–Starling relationships were steepest in cMyBP-C t3SD mice. The results support the hypothesis that cMyBP-C and its phosphorylation state tune sarcomere length dependence of myofibrillar power, and these regulatory processes translate across spatial levels of myocardial organization to control beat-to-beat ventricular performance.

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