In vivo cell biological screening identifies an endocytic capture mechanism for T-tubule formation

Nat Commun. 2020 Jul 24;11(1):3711. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17486-w.


The skeletal muscle T-tubule is a specialized membrane domain essential for coordinated muscle contraction. However, in the absence of genetically tractable systems the mechanisms involved in T-tubule formation are unknown. Here, we use the optically transparent and genetically tractable zebrafish system to probe T-tubule development in vivo. By combining live imaging of transgenic markers with three-dimensional electron microscopy, we derive a four-dimensional quantitative model for T-tubule formation. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in T-tubule formation in vivo, we develop a quantitative screen for proteins that associate with and modulate early T-tubule formation, including an overexpression screen of the entire zebrafish Rab protein family. We propose an endocytic capture model involving firstly, formation of dynamic endocytic tubules at transient nucleation sites on the sarcolemma, secondly, stabilization by myofibrils/sarcoplasmic reticulum and finally, delivery of membrane from the recycling endosome and Golgi complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels / ultrastructure
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Developmental Biology
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle Proteins / chemistry
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure*
  • Myofibrils / metabolism
  • Sarcolemma / chemistry
  • Sarcolemma / physiology*
  • Sarcolemma / ultrastructure*
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Zebrafish


  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins