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Riding the waves of the intercalated disc of the heart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-959
Number of pages5
JournalBiophysical Reviews
Issue number4
Early online date9 Jul 2018
Accepted/In press28 Jun 2018
E-pub ahead of print9 Jul 2018
Published1 Aug 2018

King's Authors


Cardiomyocytes interact with each other at their ends through the specialised membrane complex, the intercalated disck (ID). It is a fascinating structure. It allows cardiomyocytes to interact with several neighbouring cells, thereby allowing the complex structure of the heart to develop. It acts as tension transducer, structural prop, and multi signalling domain as well as a regulator of growth. It achieves its many functions through a number of specialised domains and intercellular junctions associated with its complex folded membrane. This review outlines the results of some 20 years of fascination with the ups and downs of the ID. These include locating the spectrin-associated membrane cytoskeleton in the ID and investigating the role of Protein 4.1R in calcium signalling; structural studies of the relationship of the ID to myofibrils, sarcoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria and, finally, consideration of the role of the ID in cardiomyocyte growth and heart disease.

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