Calmodulin is a protein that binds to calcium in our cells. It goes through a process called methylation by a molecule called CAM-KMT, and a few studies have shown that calmodulin can cause changes in how cells grow and develop depending on how methylated it is. In humans, deletion of CAM-KMT is associated with defects in muscle fibres. Trying to replicate this in a mouse model, scientists deleted the gene that produces CAM-KMT and found that it plays a role in normal growth, muscle strength, somatosensory development and brain function. Pictured are normal muscle fibres (left) and muscle fibres after CAM-KMT has been deleted (right). Deleting CAM-KMT led to ragged red fibres – a characteristic of mitochondrial disease – where the mitochondria [the cells’ powerhouses] accumulate around the muscle fibre membrane (seen as a darker red outline) and decrease the energy available for cellular processes.
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