At each heartbeat, cardiac myocytes are activated by a cytoplasmic Ca(2+) transient in great part due to Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum via ryanodine receptors (RyRs) clustered within calcium release units (peripheral couplings/dyads). A Ca(2+) transient also occurs in the nucleoplasm, following the cytoplasmic transient with some delay. Under conditions where the InsP3 production is stimulated, these Ca(2+) transients are regulated actively, presumably by an additional release of Ca(2+) via InsP3 receptors (InsP3Rs). This raises the question whether InsP3Rs are appropriately located for this effect and whether sources of InsP3 and Ca(2+) are available for their activation. We have defined the structural basis for InsP3R activity at the nucleus, using immunolabeling for confocal microscopy and freeze-drying/shadowing, T tubule "staining" and thin sectioning for electron microscopy. By these means we establish the presence of InsP3R at the outer nuclear envelope and show a close spatial relationship between the nuclear envelope, T tubules (a likely source of InsP3) and dyads (the known source of Ca(2+)). The frequency, distribution and distance from the nucleus of T tubules and dyads appropriately establish local perinuclear Ca(2+) microdomains in cardiac myocytes.
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