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Supramolecular organization of the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton of adult skeletal muscle fibers. A review


Laboratoire de Physiologie des Eléments Excitables, UMR-CNRS 5578, 43, bd du 11 Novembre, 69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France


This review is focused on the composition and organization of the junctional subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton of adult muscle fibers. The cytoskeleton of muscle fibers is organized in functionally distinct compartments and the subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton itself can be broadly divided into junctional (myotendinous junction, neuromuscular junction and costameres) and non-junctional domains. In junctional zones three different multimolecular cytoskeletal complexes coexist: the focal adhesion-type, the spectrin-based and the dystrophin vs utrophin-based membrane skeleton systems. These complexes extend over several levels, from intracytoplasmic to subsarcolemmal and transmembranous; their common feature is the anchorage of actin filaments emanating from the intracytoplasmic level. The different cytoskeletal proteins, their putative roles and their interactions with various signaling pathways are presented here in detail. The subsarcolemmal cytoskeleton complexes are thought to play distinct physiological roles (membrane stabilization, force transmission to extracellular matrix, ionic channel anchorage, etc) but their colocalization on the three sarcolemmal junctional domains strongly suggests interrelated or common functions.