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Biological Research

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CORONADO, ROBERTO et al. Functional equivalence of dihydropyridine receptor a1S and b1a subunits in triggering excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle. Biol. Res. [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.4, pp.565-575. ISSN 0716-9760.

Molecular understanding of the mechanism of excitation-contraction (EC) coupling in skeletal muscle has been made possible by cultured myotube models lacking specific dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR) subunits and ryanodine receptor type 1 (RyR1) isoforms. Transient expression of missing cDNAs in mutant myotubes leads to a rapid recovery, within days, of various Ca2+ current and EC coupling phenotypes. These myotube models have thus permitted structure-function analysis of EC coupling domains present in the DHPR controlling the opening of RyR1. The purpose of this brief review is to highlight advances made by this laboratory towards understanding the contribution of domains present in a1S and b1a subunits of the skeletal DHPR to EC coupling signaling. Our main contention is that domains of the a1S II-III loop are necessary but not sufficient to recapitulate skeletal-type EC coupling. Rather, the structural unit that controls the EC coupling signal appears to be the a1S/b1a pair

Keywords : L-type Ca2+ channel; Ca2+ transients; confocal imaging; cDNA expression; b1 KO myotubes; DHPR voltage sensor.

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