Mechanism of anthraquinone-induced calcium release from skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum

J. J. Abramson, E. Buck, G. Salama, J. E. Casida, Isaac N Pessah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The anthraquinones, doxorubicin, mitoxantrone, daunorubicin and rubidazone are shown to be potent stimulators of Ca2+ release from skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) vesicles and to trigger transient contractions in chemically skinned psoas muscle fibers. These effects of anthraquinones are the direct consequence of their specific interaction with the [3H]ryanodine receptor complex, which constitutes the Ca2+ release channel from the triadic junction. In the presence of adenine nucleotides and physiological Mg2+ concentrations (~1.0 mM), channel activation by doxorubicin and daunorubicin exhibits a sharp dependence on submicromolar Ca2+ which is accompanied by a selective, dose-dependent increase in the apparent affinity of the ryanodine binding sites for Ca2+, in a manner similar to that previously reported with caffeine. Unlike caffeine, however, anthraquinones increase [3H]ryanodine receptor occupancy to the level observed in the presence of adenine nucleotides. A strong interaction between the anthraquinone and the caffeine binding sites on the Ca2+ release channel is also observed when monitoring Ca2+ fluxes across the SR. Millimolar caffeine both inhibits anthraquinone-stimulated Ca2+ release, and reduced anthraquinone-stimulated [3H]ryanodine receptor occupancy, without changing the effective binding constant of the anthraquinone for its binding site. The degree of cooperativity for daunorubicin activation of Ca2+ release from SR also increases in the presence of caffeine. These results demonstrate that the mechanism by which anthraquinones stimulate Ca2+ release is caused by a direct interaction with the [3H]ryanodine receptor complex, and by sensitization of the Ca2+ activator site for Ca2+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18750-18758
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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