The heart is an essential organ in higher vertebrates and humans and its requirements for continuous operation are directly coupled with the total life span of these organisms. Temporary failure or even termination of its operation leads inevitably to death. Because of the strict requirement for durable and continuous operation it is not surprising that cardiac diseases are one of the top global killers, seriously threatening the present and future health status of the global community. The problem is further compounded by such negative factors as pollution, malnutrition, obesity, stress, drug consumption, and so on. To deal with this escalating problem there need to be new avenues of treatment, which in turn demands training of new generations of researchers through state-of-the-art research projects.
MUZIC will address this by creating an interdisciplinary training and research program. This will focus on functional and structural studies of a specific muscle sarcomere compartment, the Z-disk.
The Z-disk provides the attachment region for neighbouring sarcomere units and therefore plays a pivotal role in maintaining muscle architecture. Since sarcomeres from the heart and from skeletal muscles share many biologically similar functions, we have selected both cell types for functional and structural investigations.