Head of Laboratory

Bradley Launikonis

Location

Skerman Building, Room 301

Staff

Dr Isuru Jayasinghe

Students

Ms Tanya Cully

Research

The main interest of the lab is Excitation-Contraction Coupling and Calcium Regulation in Skeletal Muscle. The focus is to understand the mechanisms that (i) control calcium release during activity in muscle, and (ii) maintain calcium homeostasis in skeletal muscle fibres. Within this broad focus, the roles of ion channels, pumps and membrane lipid composition in skeletal muscle physiology are studied. Significant emphasis is given to how properties of the muscle change in disease and other stressed states. To unravel the physiological mechanisms that control skeletal muscle activity, imaging of muscle cell structures and calcium movements are performed.

We are also working with Muscular Dystrophy, Queensland (MDQ). Through MDQ we have gained access to stored muscle biopsies from patients with muscular dystrophy that we can use for biochemical analysis. Our work (physiological characterization) on the mdx mouse, an animal model of muscular dystrophy, is significantly aided by this.

Recent Publications

  • Cully TR, Edwards JN, Friedrich O, Stephenson DG, Murphy RM & Launikonis BS (2012). Changes in plasma membrane Ca-ATPase and stromal interacting molecule 1expression levels for Ca2+ signaling in dystrophic mdx mouse muscle. Am J Physiol Cell 303, C567-C576.
  • Edwards JN, Cully TR, Shannon TR, Stephenson DG & Launikonis BS (2012). Longitudinal and transversal propagation of excitation along the tubular system of rat fast-twitch muscle fibres studied by high speed confocal microscopy. J Physiol 590, 475-492.
  • Edwards JN, Blackmore DG, Gilbert DF, Murphy RM & Launikonis BS (2011). Store-operated calcium entry remains fully functional in aged mouse skeletal muscle despite a decline in STIM1 protein expression. Aging Cell 10, 675-685.
  • Launikonis BS, Murphy RM & Edwards JN (2010). Toward the roles of store-operated Ca2+ entry in skeletal muscle. Pflgers Arch 460, 813-823.
  • Edwards JN, Friedrich O, Cully TR, v. Wegner F, Murphy RM & Launikonis BS (2010). Upregulation of store-operated Ca2+ entry in dystrophic mdx mouse muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 299, C42-C50.
  • Edwards JN, Murphy RM, Cully TR, v. Wegner F, Friedrich O & Launikonis BS (2010) Ultra-rapid activation and deactivation of store-operated Ca2+ entry in skeletal muscle. Cell Calcium 47, 458-467.

Student projects

PhD

  1. The role of calcium regulation in the pathophysiology of muscular dystrophy (this project has a full 3 year scholarship available, funded by Muscular Dystrophy, QLD).
  2. The regulation of pH and Ca2+ in skeletal muscle: role in fatigue and disease.
  3. The role of membrane cholesterol in regulating muscle function.
  4. The structural relationship and communication between the organelles of skeletal muscle fibres.

Research support

Calcium regulation in healthy and dystrophic skeletal muscle National Health and Medical research Council Project Grant, $498,675 (2012-2014).

Muscle fibre excitability and calcium regulation in skeletal muscle of amphibians and mammals Australian Research Council Discovery Project, $340,000 (2011-2013).

Calcium handling in muscular dystrophy from Muscular Dystrophy, Queensland, $100,000 (2010-2013).

The excessive entry of calcium in muscular dystrophy. Dystrophic muscle Award, Brain Foundation, $40,000 (2012-2013).