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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006 Nov;92(3):308-32. Epub 2005 Jul 1.

Ca2+ sparks in skeletal muscle.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


The study of Ca2+ sparks has led to extensive new information regarding the gating of the Ca2+ release channels underlying these events in skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle cells, as well as the possible roles of these local Ca2+ release events in muscle function. Here we review basic procedures for studying Ca2+ sparks in skeletal muscle, primarily from frog, as well as the basic results concerning the properties of these events, their pattern and frequency of occurrence during fiber depolarization and the mechanisms underlying their termination. Finally, we also consider the contribution of different ryanodine receptor (RyR) isoforms to Ca2+ sparks and the number of RyR Ca2+ release channels that may contribute to the generation of a Ca2+ spark. Over the decade since their discovery, Ca2+ sparks have provided a wealth of information concerning the function of Ca2+ release channels within their intracellular environment.

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