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Biophys J. 1999 Oct;77(4):1936-44.

Structure of the skeletal muscle calcium release channel activated with Ca2+ and AMP-PCP.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030 USA.


The functional state of the skeletal muscle Ca2+ release channel is modulated by a number of endogenous molecules during excitation-contraction. Using electron cryomicroscopy and angular reconstitution techniques, we determined the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the skeletal muscle Ca2+ release channel activated by a nonhydrolyzable analog of ATP in the presence of Ca2+. These ligands together produce almost maximum activation of the channel and drive the channel population toward a predominately open state. The resulting 30-A 3D reconstruction reveals long-range conformational changes in the cytoplasmic region that might affect the interaction of the Ca2+ release channel with the t-tubule voltage sensor. In addition, a central opening and mass movements, detected in the transmembrane domain of both the Ca(2+)- and the Ca2+/nucleotide-activated channels, suggest a mechanism for channel opening similar to opening-closing of the iris in a camera diaphragm.

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