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Biophys J. 2013 Jun 4;104(11):L22-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.02.059.

Nanoscale distribution of ryanodine receptors and caveolin-3 in mouse ventricular myocytes: dilation of t-tubules near junctions.

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Center for Research in Biological Systems, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.


We conducted super-resolution light microscopy (LM) imaging of the distribution of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) and caveolin-3 (CAV3) in mouse ventricular myocytes. Quantitative analysis of data at the surface sarcolemma showed that 4.8% of RyR labeling colocalized with CAV3 whereas 3.5% of CAV3 was in areas with RyR labeling. These values increased to 9.2 and 9.0%, respectively, in the interior of myocytes where CAV3 was widely expressed in the t-system but reduced in regions associated with junctional couplings. Electron microscopic (EM) tomography independently showed only few couplings with caveolae and little evidence for caveolar shapes on the t-system. Unexpectedly, both super-resolution LM and three-dimensional EM data (including serial block-face scanning EM) revealed significant increases in local t-system diameters in many regions associated with junctions. We suggest that this regional specialization helps reduce ionic accumulation and depletion in t-system lumen during excitation-contraction coupling to ensure effective local Ca²⁺ release. Our data demonstrate that super-resolution LM and volume EM techniques complementarily enhance information on subcellular structure at the nanoscale.

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