True Molecular Scale Visualization of Variable Clustering Properties of Ryanodine Receptors.

28 Jun 2018

Signaling nanodomains rely on spatial organization of proteins to allow controlled intracellular signaling. Examples include calcium release sites of cardiomyocytes where ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are clustered with their molecular partners. Localization microscopy has been crucial to visualizing these nanodomains but has been limited by brightness of markers, restricting the resolution and quantification of individual proteins clustered within. Harnessing the remarkable localization precision of DNA-PAINT (<10 nm), we visualized punctate labeling within these nanodomains, confirmed as single RyRs. RyR positions within sub-plasmalemmal nanodomains revealed how they are organized randomly into irregular clustering patterns leaving significant gaps occupied by accessory or regulatory proteins. RyR-inhibiting protein junctophilin-2 appeared highly concentrated adjacent to RyR channels. Analyzing these molecular maps showed significant variations in the co-clustering stoichiometry between junctophilin-2 and RyR, even between nearby nanodomains. This constitutes an additional level of complexity in RyR arrangement and regulation of calcium signaling, intrinsically built into the nanodomains.