Overview of the muscle cytoskeleton

Christine A. Henderson, Christopher G. Gomez, Stefanie M. Novak, Lei Mi-Mi, Carol C. Gregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Cardiac and skeletal striated muscles are intricately designed machines responsible for muscle contraction. Coordination of the basic contractile unit, the sarcomere, and the complex cytoskeletal networks are critical for contractile activity. The sarcomere is comprised of precisely organized individual filament systems that include thin (actin), thick (myosin), titin, and nebulin. Connecting the sarcomere to other organelles (e.g., mitochondria and nucleus) and serving as the scaffold to maintain cellular integrity are the intermediate filaments. The costamere, on the other hand, tethers the sarcomere to the cell membrane. Unique structures like the intercalated disc in cardiac muscle and the myotendinous junction in skeletal muscle help synchronize and transmit force. Intense investigation has been done on many of the proteins that make up these cytoskeletal assemblies. Yet the details of their function and how they interconnect have just started to be elucidated. A vast number of human myopathies are contributed to mutations in muscle proteins; thus understanding their basic function provides a mechanistic understanding of muscle disorders. In this review, we highlight the components of striated muscle with respect to their interactions, signaling pathways, functions, and connections to disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-944
Number of pages54
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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