• annexin VI;
  • calcium;
  • confocal;
  • heart;
  • localization

Annexins are a major family of intracellular Ca2+-binding proteins which have been implicated in a variety of cellular functions. In this paper the authors have used confocal microscopy to compare the distribution of annexin VI in vibratome sections of the rat adult left ventricle and striated muscle of the rat oesophagus. It is shown that in rat cardiac myocytes annexin VI is associated with only the sarcolemma and intercalated discs. In contrast, it is demonstrated that in rat skeletal muscle annexin VI is associated with the sarcoplasmic reticulum, in addition to the plasma membrane, suggesting that annexin VI is regulating different processes in these tissues. Also shown is that in vibratome sections of the neonatal rat left ventricle, annexin VI has a different subcellular location to that observed in the terminally differentiated adult myocyte. In these differentiating neonatal cells annexins VI is also associated with specific subcellular structures. Furthermore, using confocal microscopy of isolated myocytes the authors demonstrate that the association of annexin VI with the sarcolemma is stable even after cells are treated with the intracellular calcium chelator BAPTA-AM, to greatly deplete cytosolic calcium levels. This demonstrates that annexin VI associates tightly with the sarcolemma, and suggests that components in addition to phospholipid are involved in binding annexin VI to the membrane. These results demonstrate that the subcellular location of annexin VI is differentially regulated, and suggest that annexin VI is required for a process or processes characteristic of the sarcolemma, and of the sarcoplasmic reticulum of skeletal but not of heart muscle.