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Sarcoplasmic reticulum is an intermediary of mitochondrial and myofibrillar growth at the intercalated disc

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In cardiomyocytes columns of intermyofibrillar mitochondria run up to the intercalated disc (ID); half are collinear with those in the neighbouring cell, suggesting coordinated addition of sarcomeres and mitochondria both within and between cells during cardiomyocyte growth. Recent evidence for an association between sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and mitochondria indicates that the SR may be an intermediary in this coordinated behaviour. For this reason we have investigated the arrangement of SR and t tubules with respect to mitochondria and myofibrils, particularly at the ID. In the body of the cardiomyocyte the mitochondrial columns are frequently intersected by transverse tubules. In addition, we find that a majority of axial tubules are sandwiched between mitochondria and myofibril. No tubules are found at the ID. SR coats mitochondrial columns and fibrils throughout their length and reaches towards the peaks of the ID membrane where it attaches in the form of junctional (j)SR. These peripheral ID couplings are often situated between mitochondria and ID membrane, suggesting an SR connection between the two. In dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) the mitochondria are somewhat disordered and clumped. In a mouse model for DCM, the muscle LIM protein KO, we find that there is a lack of mitochondria near the ID, suggesting the uncoupling of the myofibril/mitochondria organisation during growth. SR still coats the fibrils and reaches the ID folds in a jSR coupling. Unlike in control tissue, however, loops and long fingers of ID membrane penetrate into the proximal sarcomere suggesting a possible intermediary state in cardiomyocyte growth.

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