Uncovering how specific "STAC" proteins regulate muscle contraction
Skeletal and heart muscle contraction requires calcium ions. Calcium ions enter muscle cells through 'calcium channels', which are effectively gates comprised of protein. The exact timing of the opening and closing of these gates is critical for normal muscle function, whether in maintaining a regular heartbeat or in enabling physical movement of the body as a whole. Any deviation in these calcium channels can cause calcium excess, which may result in disease. These include inherited cardiac arrhythmias or muscular disorders (e.g. Native American myopathy).
This project aims to uncover how other, ancillary proteins called 'STACs' can interact with these gates to promote their opening and how these STACs might contribute to diseases of dysregulation.