, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 446-468

The sarcomeric Z-disc: a nodal point in signalling and disease

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The perception of the Z-disc in striated muscle has undergone significant changes in the past decade. Traditionally, the Z-disc has been viewed as a passive constituent of the sarcomere, which is important only for the cross-linking of thin filaments and transmission of force generated by the myofilaments. The recent discovery of multiple novel molecular components, however, has shed light on an emerging role for the Z-disc in signal transduction in both cardiac and skeletal muscles. Strikingly, mutations in several Z-disc proteins have been shown to cause cardiomyopathies and/or muscular dystrophies. In addition, the elusive cardiac stretch receptor appears to localize to the Z-disc. Various signalling molecules have been shown to interact with Z-disc proteins, several of which shuttle between the Z-disc and other cellular compartments such as the nucleus, underlining the dynamic nature of Z-disc-dependent signalling. In this review, we provide a systematic view on the currently known Z-disc components and the functional significance of the Z-disc as an interface between biomechanical sensing and signalling in cardiac and skeletal muscle functions and diseases.