Obscurins: Unassuming giants enter the spotlight

Authors

  • Nicole A. Perry,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • Maegen A. Ackermann,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • Marey Shriver,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • Li-Yen R. Hu,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • Aikaterini Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
    • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
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    • Tel: +410-706-5788. Fax: 410-706-8279


Abstract

Discovered about a decade ago, obscurin (∼720 kDa) is a member of a family of giant proteins expressed in striated muscle that are essential for normal muscle function. Much of what we understand about obscurin stems from its functions in cardiac and skeletal muscle. However, recent evidence has indicated that variants of obscurin (“obscurins”) are expressed in diverse cell types, where they contribute to distinct cellular processes. Dysfunction or abrogation of obscurins has also been implicated in the development of several pathological conditions, including cardiac hypertrophy and cancer. Herein, we present an overview of obscurins with an emphasis on novel findings that demonstrate their heretofore-unsuspected importance in cell signaling and disease progression. © 2013 IUBMB Life, 65(6):479–486, 2013.

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