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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2006;27(5-7):275-90. Epub 2006 Aug 24.

Ion channels and ion transporters of the transverse tubular system of skeletal muscle.

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Department of Physiology, Ulm University, D-89081, Ulm, Germany.


This review focuses on the electrical properties of the transverse (T) tubular membrane of skeletal muscle, with reference to the contribution of the T-tubular system (TTS) to the surface action potential, the radial spread of excitation and its role in excitation-contraction coupling. Particularly, the most important ion channels and ion transporters that enable proper depolarization and repolarization of the T-tubular membrane are described. Since propagation of excitation along the TTS into the depth of the fibers is a delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory currents, the composition of channels and transporters is specific to the TTS and different from the surface membrane. The TTS normally enables the radial spread of excitation and the signal transfer to the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release calcium that activates the contractile apparatus. However, due to its structure, even slight shifts of ions may alter its volume, Nernstian potentials, ion permeabilities, and consequently T-tubular membrane potential and excitability.

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