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Title: Preparation and properties of isolated Z-disks
Author: Rusu, Mara Camelia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 3309
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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Z-disks form the boundaries of the sarcomeres, the basic contractile units of muscle cells. Within the Z-line thin filaments containing mainly actin interdigitate and are crosslinked by α-actinin. Ends of the giant proteins titin and nebulin are also anchored in the Z-disk. The Z-line was originally thought to have the purely mechanical function of transmitting contractile force along the myofibrils. However, more recently, the Z-disk has emerged as a highly dynamic structure involved in stress sensing and important signaling pathways that govern muscle homeostasis. In order to fully understand how the Z-disk functions a detailed description of its molecular organization is essential. Even though the structure the structure of the Z-disk has been studied by electron microscopy techniques its molecular organization is known only in outline to a resolution of about 5 nm, whereas at least 3 nm is required to begin distinguishing protein shapes and to accurately dock crystal structure. Reports describing the isolation of intact Z-disks from insect indirect flight muscle date from 30-40 years ago, but these preparations have not been subjected to modern electron microscopy techniques. We improved the existing methods for the isolation of the Z-disk from honeybee flight muscle and investigated its structure using cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging. The preliminary data indicate that the resolution was improved when compared with past studies of plastic sectioned muscle. We have also investigated the protein composition of the preparations to monitor the components that are washed away during preparation. Methods for the isolation of intact Z-disks from vertebrate muscle are not available. We explored strategies for isolating Z-disks from skeletal and cardiac muscle. Even though such a preparation has not been achieved we present promising approaches that, with optimization, should enable isolation of Z-disks from vertebrate muscle.
Supervisor: Trinick, John ; Tskhovrebova, Larissa Sponsor: European Research Council FP7
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available