Jun 24, 2011

The structure and function of cardiac t-tubules in health and disease

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Michael IbrahimCesare M Terracciano

Abstract

The transverse tubules (t-tubules) are invaginations of the cell membrane rich in several ion channels and other proteins devoted to the critical task of excitation-contraction coupling in cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes). They are thought to promote the synchronous activation of the whole depth of the cell despite the fact that the signal to contract is relayed across the external membrane. However, recent work has shown that t-tubule structure and function are complex and tightly regulated in healthy cardiomyocytes. In this review, we outline the rapidly accumulating knowledge of its novel roles and discuss the emerging evidence of t-tubule dysfunction in cardiac disease, especially heart failure. Controversy surrounds the t-tubules' regulatory elements, and we draw attention to work that is defining these elements from the genetic and the physiological levels. More generally, this field illustrates the challenges in the dissection of the complex relationship between cellular structure and function.

Mentioned in this Paper

Transverse Tubule of Muscle Cell
Contraction (Finding)
Ion Channel
Heart
Physiopathological
Invagination
Cellular Structures
Narrow Pore, Gated Channel Activity
Heart Diseases
Cell Membrane Structures

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