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The cardiac conduction system is an extended network of excitable tissue tasked with generation and propagation of electrical impulses to signal coordinated contraction of the heart. The fidelity of this system depends on the proper spatio-temporal regulation of ion channels in myocytes throughout the conduction system. Importantly, inherited or acquired defects in a wide class of ion channels has been linked to dysfunction at various stages of the conduction system resulting in life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. There is growing appreciation of the role that adapter and cytoskeletal proteins play in organizing ion channel macromolecular complexes critical for proper function of the cardiac conduction system. In particular, members of the ankyrin and spectrin families have emerged as important nodes for normal expression and regulation of ion channels in myocytes throughout the conduction system. Human variants impacting ankyrin/spectrin function give rise to a broad constellation of cardiac arrhythmias. Furthermore, chronic neurohumoral and biomechanical stress promotes ankyrin/spectrin loss of function that likely contributes to conduction disturbances in the setting of acquired cardiac disease. Collectively, this review seeks to bring attention to the significance of these cytoskeletal players and emphasize the potential therapeutic role they represent in a myriad of cardiac disease states.


Drew Nassal, Jane Yu, Dennison Min, Cemantha Lane, Rebecca Shaheen, Daniel Gratz, Thomas J Hund. Regulation of Cardiac Conduction and Arrhythmias by Ankyrin/Spectrin-Based Macromolecular Complexes. Journal of cardiovascular development and disease. 2021 Apr 29;8(5)

PMID: 33946725

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