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Biophys J. 2003 Feb;84(2 Pt 1):1079-92.

Location of ryanodine and dihydropyridine receptors in frog myocardium.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6058, USA.


Frog myocardium depends almost entirely on calcium entry from extracellular spaces for its beat-to-beat activation. Atrial myocardium additionally shows internal calcium release under certain conditions, but internal release in the ventricle is absent or very low. We have examined the content and distribution of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium release channels (ryanodine receptors, RyRs) and the surface membrane calcium channels (dihydropyridine receptors, DHPRs) in myocardium from the two atria and the ventricle of the frog heart using binding of radioactive ryanodine, immunolabeling of RyR and DHPR, and thin section and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. In cells from both types of chambers, the SR forms peripheral couplings and in both chambers peripheral couplings colocalize with clusters of DHPRs. However, although a low level of high affinity binding of ryanodine is detectable and RyRs are present in peripheral couplings of the atrium, the ventricle shows essentially no ryanodine binding and RyRs are not detectable either by electron microscopy or immunolabeling. The results are consistent with the lack of internal calcium release in the ventricle, and raise questions regarding the significance of DHPR at peripheral couplings in the absence of RyR. Interestingly, the free SR membrane in both heart chambers shows a low but equal density of intramembrane particles representing the Ca(2+) ATPase.

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