In skeletal muscle, excitation–contraction (E–C) coupling requires the conversion of the depolarization signal of the invaginated surface membrane, namely the transverse (T-) tubule, to Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Signal transduction occurs at the junctional complex between the T-tubule and SR, designated as the triad junction, which contains two components essential for E–C coupling, namely the dihydropyridine receptor as the T-tubular voltage sensor and the ryanodine receptor as the SR Ca2+-release channel. However, functional expression of the two receptors seemed to constitute neither the signal-transduction system nor the junction between the surface and intracellular membranes in cultured cells, suggesting that some as-yet-unidentified molecules participate in both the machinery. In addition, the molecular basis of the formation of the triad junction is totally unknown. It is therefore important to examine the components localized to the triad junction. Here we report the identification using monoclonal antibody and primary structure by cDNA cloning of mitsugumin29, a novel transmembrane protein from the triad junction in skeletal muscle. This protein is homologous in amino acid sequence and shares characteristic structural features with the members of the synaptophysin family. The subcellular distribution and protein structure suggest that mitsugumin29 is involved in communication between the T-tubular and junctional SR membranes.
The sequence data reported have been submitted to the EMBL, GenBank™ and DDBJ Nucleotide Sequence Databases under the accession number AB004816.