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The 150th Anniversary of the Discovery of L.A. Ranvier: Specialization and Plasticity of Fiber Types in the Vertebrate Skeletal Muscles

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 May 2024 | Viewed by 155

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Interests: skeletal muscle; intracellular signaling pathways; skeletal muscle mechanosensory molecules; skeletal muscle atrophy; microgravity; gravitational unloading; muscle disuse; mechanical characteristics; muscle tone; muscle stiffness; passive tension
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo 3, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: muscle physiology and pathophysiology; intracellular calcium dynamics; myosin isoforms and chemo-mechanical transduction; response to resistance training; adaptation to disuse; muscle function decline with aging
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

All vertebrate skeletal muscles are very similar in their structure and function. The length and the overall architecture of thick filaments, responsible for the typical striation pattern and containing the motor protein myosin, are the equal across all species, from amphioxus to humans. Z disks set the limit to sarcomeres. Sarcoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria accompany myofibrils.

However, skeletal muscles perform very different tasks: first, they stabilize the position of the body by acting against the force of gravity or other forces. Then, they generate rhythmic and continuous movements such as breathing or locomotion, and finally to produce rapid movements of the body or its take-off such as a jump. The different tasks require specific neural discharge patterns, but also a specialization of the muscle fibers which perform the required tasks. Thus, some fibers specialize in performing low-intensity and long-lasting activity without fatiguing, while other fibers specialize in rapid and strong contractile performance. The specialization is based on the regulation of gene transcription. The genes involved code for proteins participating in all structural and functional aspects, from the synaptic contact with nerve endings at the neuromuscular junctions, to action potential spreading along the sarcolemma, intracellular calcium signaling, force generation in the acto-myosin interaction and metabolic ATP supply. Altogether the combination of the genes, up- or down-regulated, gives origin to different phenotypes indicated as fiber types.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication that explicitly demonstrates the functional difference between specialized muscles such as those that are fast and slow. In 1873, Louis Antoine Ranvier published Des muscles rouges et des muscles blancs chez les rongeurs  Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. 77, 1030, 1873. Since then, we have come a long way and a lot of information has been collected, giving an increasingly complete picture of the specialization of the fibers. The present Special Issue aims to collect papers updating on the advances of the knowledge in the field. We invite reviews and experimental articles related to the following topics:   

  • Fiber types in different muscles and biological species. Anatomical and comparative studies; 
  • Fiber types in fish, amphibia, birds and mammals;
  • Myosin heavy-chain (MyHC) isoforms, MyHC genes, their localization and interactions in the genome;
  • Embryogenesis of fiber types and fiber-type specification;
  • Expression of MyHC isoforms in different muscles and muscle fibers (extrafusal and intrafusal, extraocular and others) in health, diseases, disuse and hyper-use;
  • Activity-dependent and transcriptional regulation of MyHC isoform expression (TF-dependent and epigenomic mechanisms);
  • Neural mechanisms of fiber-type plasticity (denervation, re-innervation, spinal transection, supra-spinal mechanisms);
  • Hormonal and neurotrophic influences on fiber types;
  • Signaling and metabolic profiles of fiber types;    
  • Mechanical/contractile properties of fiber types; 
  • Fiber-type plasticity and fatigue; 
  • Genetic determinants of the fiber type composition.

Prof. Dr. Boris S. Shenkman
Prof. Dr. Carlo Reggiani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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