Canadian Anaesthetists’ Society Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 390–398 | Cite as

Review Article Calmodulin and its roles in skeletal muscle function

  • Midiael P. Walsh


The purpose of this review is to describe the importance of calmodulin as a mediator of the effects of calcium ions in living systems, particularly in the process of skeletal muscle contraction.

Calmodulin is alow molecular weight, acidic, calcium binding protein which mediates the Co2+ regulation of a wide range of physiological processes throughout eukaryotic organisms. At low free Co2+ concentrations, such as exist in resting muscle sarcoplasm, calmodulin exists in the Ca2+ -free form in which stale it does noi generally interact with a target protein. Following an appropriate stimulus, the free Co2+ concentration rises whereupon Co2+ binds to calmodulin which undergoes a canformational change enabling it to interact with a target protein(s). The overall result of this protein-protein interaction isaphysiologicaleffect, e.g., Ca2+ binding to calmodulin in smooth muscle allows it to interact with and activate myosin light chain kinase which catalyzes the phosphorylation of myosin. This reaction results in contraction of the smooth muscle. Recent studies have implicated calmodulin in the Ca2+ control of three enzymes in skeletal muscle: phosphorylase kinase, myosin light chain kinase and a protein kinase of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Various classes of drugs, including certain local anaesthetics, have been shown to affect calmodulin-dependent processes. It is likely that the effects of such drugs result from their interaction with calmodulin.

Key words

muscle skeletal calcium calmodulin glycogen metabolism myosin phosphorylation sarcoplasmic reticulum 


Cette revue vise à décrire F importance de la calmoduline comme médiateur des effets des ions calciques dans les systèmes biologiques, surtout dans le processus de la contraction musculaire squelettique.

La caimoduline est une protéine acide de faible poids moléculaire, liant le calcium, qui agit comme médiateur dans la régulation du calcium pour une variété de processus physiologiques d’organismes eukariotiques. A une basse concentration de calcium libre, celle existant dans le sarcoplasme du muscle au repos, la calmoduline est sous forme libre, non liée au calcium, forme dans laquelle elle ne peut généralement pas réagir avec une protéine cible.

Après un stimulus approprié, la concentration du calcium libre s’élève jusqu’à ce que celui-ci se lie à la calmoduline qui subit alors un changement de configuration la rendant apte à réagir avec une ou des protêine(s) cible(s). Le résultat final de cette interaction protéine-protéine est un effet physiologique: par exemple, le calcium libre se liant à la calmoduline du muscle lisse lui permet de réagir avec la myosine kinase à chaîne légère qui catalyse ta phosphorisation de la myosine. Cette réaction amène la contraction du muscle lisse. Des études récentes ont impliqué la calmoduline dans le contrôle calcique de trois enzymes du muscle squelettique: la phosphorylase-kinase, la myosine-kinase à chaîne légère et la protéine-kinase du reticulum sarcoplasmi-que. On a démontré que des médicaments dont certains anesthésiques locaux, affectent les processus dépendant de la calmoduline probablement par une inter-réaction avec celle-ci.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Midiael P. Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical BiochemistryUniversity of CalgaryCalgary

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