JCSMR School Seminar Series: Molecular aspects of excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle, and what goes wrong

Professor Graham Lamb, Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Department of Zoology, La Trobe University.

Skeletal muscle weakness occurs not only in specific muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy, but also with heart failure and chronic kidney disease.  It can arise due to dysfunction in any of the steps in the excitation-contraction coupling sequence, though it often appears to be due to either  disruption in the initial steps that trigger Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum or to alterations in maximum force production and/or Ca2+-sensitivity of the contractile apparatus.  This presentation starts with an overview of excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle and some of the exquisite physiological regulatory mechanisms that underlie normal muscle performance and fatigue.  It then discusses what goes wrong with Ca2+ release in muscular dystrophy or even just after walking downhill.  Finally, it considers some of the effects of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species on the contractile apparatus, effects exerted via S‑glutathionylation, S-nitrosylation and oxidation, a trio of actions that might be called ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’.  

Graham Lamb completed a BSc (Hons) at the University of Melbourne in 1976, majoring in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and then Physiology.  His MSc (1979) and PhD theses (1982) were on research projects on the neural coding of touch sensation in the peripheral nervous system in monkeys and humans, and were undertaken in the Department of Physiology at University of Melbourne.  His postdoctoral training (1983-1985) with Professor Peter Gage, first at UNSW and then the JCSMR, involved electrophysiological studies on skeletal and cardiac muscle ion channels and the processes controlling excitability and contraction.  He continued as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow at JCSMR for a further two years.  In 1988 he was awarded an NHMRC Research Fellowship to work in the Department of Zoology at La Trobe University, primarily on aspects of skeletal muscle function in health, exercise and disease, and has continued such research since, subsequently as SRF (1994), PRF (1997), and then SPRF (2004).  Professor Lamb has served as a reviewing editor for the Journal of Physiology and the American Journal of Physiology, as an elected Councilor for the Australian Physiological Society, and also on the NHMRC Research Fellowship Committee.

Date & time

12–1pm 16 November 2012


The Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Building 131, Garran Road, ANU


 Laura Vitler, Host: Angela Dulhunty
 +61 2 6125 2589

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