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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The existence of an insoluble Z disc scaffold in chicken skeletal muscle.

Extraction of glycerinated chicken skeletal muscle with 0.6 M potassium iodide leaves a framework of insoluble components within each muscle fiber. This framework is composed primarily of planes of in-register Z discs that have been thickened by the accumulation of material on both sides of each disc during extraction. Membrane vesicles, presumably remnants of the T system, remain surrounding the Z discs. When the framework is sheared in a blender, it is preferentially cleaved between Z planes, resulting in the formation of large sheets of interconnected, closely packed Z discs in a honeycomb-like array. Cleavage occurs in regions formerly occupied by the A bands, which have been weakened by the removal of myosin. The existence and stability of these planar Z disc arrays demonstrate the presence and strength of connections between adjacent myofibrils. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis reveals that this framework consists primarily of actin and desmin, with lesser amounts of a few proteins including alpha-actinin, myosin and tropomyosin. Z disc sheets and KI-extracted myofibrils provide a distinct face-on view and side view, respectively, of the Z disc. In indirect immunofluorescence, these two views have revealed that desmin is present at the periphery of each Z disc, forming a network of proteinaceous collars within the Z plane. alpha-Actinin is localized within each disc, giving a face-on fluorescence pattern that is complementary to that of desmin. Actin is present throughout the thickened Z plane, while myosin and tropomyosin exist only in the insoluble residue that coalesces on both faces of each disc. We conclude that desmin, perhaps in conjunction with actin, is responsible for interlinking Z discs of adjacent myofibrils, and may thus serve as a mechanical and structural integrator of muscle fibers. Its hydrophobic nature and coincident distribution with the T system suggest that it may also be responsible for mediating filament-membrane interactions and anchoring the triad to the Z disc. Its collar-like distribution suggests that it may aid in maintaining the structural integrity of the Z disc and the actin filaments inserted into it.[1]


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