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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2002;18:637-706. Epub 2002 Apr 2.

Striated muscle cytoarchitecture: an intricate web of form and function.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724, USA.


Striated muscle is an intricate, efficient, and precise machine that contains complex interconnected cytoskeletal networks critical for its contractile activity. The individual units of the sarcomere, the basic contractile unit of myofibrils, include the thin, thick, titin, and nebulin filaments. These filament systems have been investigated intensely for some time, but the details of their functions, as well as how they are connected to other cytoskeletal elements, are just beginning to be elucidated. These investigations have advanced significantly in recent years through the identification of novel sarcomeric and sarcomeric-associated proteins and their subsequent functional analyses in model systems. Mutations in these cytoskeletal components account for a large percentage of human myopathies, and thus insight into the normal functions of these proteins has provided a much needed mechanistic understanding of these disorders. In this review, we highlight the components of striated muscle cytoarchitecture with respect to their interactions, dynamics, links to signaling pathways, and functions. The exciting conclusion is that the striated muscle cytoskeleton, an exquisitely tuned, dynamic molecular machine, is capable of responding to subtle changes in cellular physiology.

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