The Z-disc is a highly specialized multiprotein complex of striated muscles that serves as the interface of the sarcomere and the cytoskeleton. In addition to its role in muscle contraction, its juxtaposition to the plasma membrane suggests additional functions of the Z-disc in sensing and transmitting external and internal signals. Recently, we described two novel striated muscle-specific proteins, calsarcin-1 and calsarcin-2, that bind alpha-actinin on the Z-disc and serve as intracellular binding proteins for calcineurin, a calcium/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase shown to be integral in cardiac hypertrophy as well as skeletal muscle differentiation and fiber-type specification. Here, we describe an additional member of the calsarcin family, calsarcin-3, which is expressed specifically in skeletal muscle and is enriched in fast-twitch muscle fibers. Like calsarcin-1 and calsarcin-2, calsarcin-3 interacts with calcineurin, and the Z-disc proteins alpha-actinin, gamma-filamin, and telethonin. In addition, we show that calsarcins interact with the PDZ-LIM domain protein ZASP/Cypher/Oracle, which also localizes to the Z-disc. Calsarcins represent a novel family of sarcomeric proteins that serve as focal points for the interactions of an array of proteins involved in Z-disc structure and signal transduction in striated muscle.
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