Tubular aggregates are inclusions, usually found in type II muscle fibers and in males, consisting of regular arrays of tubules derived from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Tubular aggregates are associated with a wide variety of muscle disorders, including poorly defined "tubular aggregate myopathies" characterized by weakness and/or myalgia and/or cramps, and are also present in different mouse models, including normal aging muscles. The mechanism(s) responsible for inducing the formation of these structures have not been identified, because of the slow time course of their development in vivo, several months in mice. However, identical structures are formed in a few hours in rat muscles kept in vitro in hypoxic medium. Here I suggest that tubular aggregates result from reshaping of sarcoplasmic reticulum caused by misfolding and aggregation of membrane proteins and thus represent a special type of "protein aggregates" due to altered proteostasis.
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