The zebrafish has emerged as a very relevant animal model for probing the pathophysiology of human skeletal muscle disorders. This vertebrate animal model displays a startle response characterized by high-frequency swimming activity powered by contraction of fast skeletal muscle fibers excited at extremely high frequencies, critical for escaping predators and capturing prey. Such intense muscle performance requires extremely fast properties of the contractile machinery but also of excitation–contraction coupling, the process by which an action potential spreading along the sarcolemma induces a change in configuration of the dihydropyridine receptors, resulting in intramembrane charge movements, which in turn triggers the release of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. However, thus far, the fastest Ca2+ transients evoked by vertebrate muscle fibers has been described in muscles used to produce sounds, such as those in the toadfish swim bladder, but not in muscles used for locomotion. By performing intracellular Ca2+ measurements under voltage control in isolated fast skeletal muscle fibers from adult zebrafish and mouse, we demonstrate that fish fast muscle fibers display superfast kinetics of action potentials, intramembrane charge movements, and action potential–evoked Ca2+ transient, allowing fusion and fused sustained Ca2+ transients at frequencies of excitation much higher than in mouse fast skeletal muscle fibers and comparable to those recorded in muscles producing sounds. The present study is the first demonstration of superfast kinetics of excitation–contraction coupling in skeletal muscle allowing superfast locomotor behaviors in a vertebrate.

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