Membrane traffic in skeletal muscle

Traffic. 2004 Mar;5(3):129-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2003.00164.x.


Skeletal muscle tissue is made up of highly organized multinuclear cells. The internal organization of the muscle cell is dictated by the necessary regular arrangement of repeated units within the protein myofibrils that mediate muscle contraction. Skeletal muscle cells have the usual membrane traffic pathways for partitioning newly synthesized proteins, internalizing cell surface receptors for hormones and nutrients, and mediating membrane repair. However, in muscle, these pathways must be further specialized to deal with targeting to and organizing muscle-specific membrane structures, satisfying the unique metabolic requirements of muscle and meeting the high demand for membrane repair in a tissue that is constantly under mechanical stress. Specialized membrane traffic pathways in muscle also play a role in the formation of muscle through fusion of myoblast membranes and the development of internal muscle-specific membrane structures during myogenesis and regeneration. It has recently become apparent that muscle-specific isoforms of proteins that are known to mediate ubiquitous membrane traffic pathways, as well as novel muscle-specific proteins, are involved in tissue-specific aspects of muscle membrane traffic. Here we describe the specialized membrane structures of skeletal muscle, how these are developed, maintained and repaired by specialized and generic membrane traffic pathways, and how defects in these pathways result in muscle disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Sarcolemma / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins