Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a Ca2+-entry process activated by the depletion of intracellular stores and has an important role in many cell types. In skeletal muscle, however, its role during physiological muscle activation has been controversial. To address this question, sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium release in a mouse strain with a naturally occurring mutation in the myostatin gene (Compact (Cmpt)) leading to a hypermuscular yet reduced muscle-force phenotype was compared to that in wild-type mice. To elicit Ca2+ release from the SR of flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) fibers, either a ryanodine receptor agonist (4-chloro-meta-cresol) or depolarizing pulses were used. In muscles from Cmpt mice, endogenous protein levels of STIM1 and Orai1 were reduced, and consequently, SOCE after 4-chloro-meta-cresol-induced store depletion was suppressed. Although the voltage dependence of SR calcium release was not statistically different between wild-type and Cmpt fibers, the amount of releasable calcium was significantly reduced in the latter, indicating a smaller SR content. To assess the immediate role of SOCE in replenishing the SR calcium store, the evolution of intracellular calcium concentration during a train of long-lasting depolarizations to a maximally activating voltage was monitored. Cmpt mice exhibited a faster decline in calcium release, suggesting a compromised ability to refill the SR. A simple model that incorporates a reduced SOCE as an important partner in regulating immediate calcium influx through the surface membrane readily accounts for the steady-state reduction in SR calcium content and its more pronounced decline after calcium release.
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