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Biophys J. 1997 Jul;73(1):112-22.

Numerical analysis of ryanodine receptor activation by L-type channel activity in the cardiac muscle diad.

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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.


Computer simulations were used to examine the response of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) to the sarcolemmal calcium influx via L-type calcium channels (DHPRs). The effects of ryanodine receptor organization, diad geometry, DHPR single-channel current, and DHPR gating were examined. In agreement with experimental findings, the simulations showed that RyRs can respond rapidly (approximately 0.4 ms) to calcium influx via DHPRs. The responsiveness of the RyR depends on the geometrical arrangement between the RyRs and the DHPR in the diad, with wider diads being generally less responsive. When the DHPR single-channel current is small (approximately 25 fA), the organization of RyRs into small clusters results in an improved responsiveness. With experimentally observed DHPR mean open and closed times (0.17 ms and 4 ms, respectively) it is the first opening of the DHPR that is most likely to activate the RyR. A measure of the efficiency (Q) by which DHPR gating evokes sarcoplasmic reticulum release is defined. Q is at maximum for tau approximately 0.3 ms, and we interpret this finding in terms of the "tuning" of DHPR gating to RyR response. If certain cardiac myopathies are associated with a mismatch in the "tuning," then modification of DHPR gating with drugs to "retune" calcium-induced calcium release should be possible.

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