David Hill - Muscle Plasticity

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Here's what David had to say about the muscle plasticity terms (summarized; I'm ccing David in case I've missed anything):

The new definition of muscle plasticity is fine; but hang onto the old definition somewhere because it's a good source of is_a and part_of child terms.

We can use the existing synaptic plasticity terms as a model for the ontology structure for the muscle plasticity terms and definitions. The 'plasticity' terms should be used only for annotating gene products that are actually involved in the change; for the stimuli that lead to plasticity, we should make the terms part_of 'regulation of muscle plasticity'. The wording David suggests is 'muscle plasticity in response to stimulus'; it's analogous to sensory detection and response.

Following on from the meeting discussion about whether each type of change is relevant to every type of muscle, we have to be careful to ensure that we only add terms describing normal, not pathological, processes. For example, David agreed that cardiac muscle hyperplasia is a normal part of embryonic heart development, but hyperplasia is only seen in pathological circumstances in post-embryonic stages (happily, this is completely consistent with Elisabeth's email).

We also discussed the question about what "strenuous" or "sustained" muscle activity might bean. David's opinion is that we should ask the experts who feel the need for the terms (are they the physiologists?) to define what they mean. If they can come up with something consistent, we'll probably be able to use it. The definitions should be qualified sufficiently (i.e. explicit and specific enough) that there won't be any risk of using the terms to annotate the "wrong" species. We can have David and Alex review proposed terms and definitions before they go live.

Finally, David says we'll almost certainly have to keep the 'voluntary contraction' and 'involuntary' contraction terms, because making them synonyms of skeletal or smooth+cardiac muscle contraction wouldn't work for all species. The differences in innervation that correlate with voluntary vs. involuntary are very very important to the physiologists studying these areas.


Currently there is no term just called 'synaptic plasticity'. There are only regulation terms. These terms would be used to describe the stimuli that cause the actual remodeling of the synapse to occur. So there will be two sets of gene products. One set would be functioning in the actual remodeling that occurs during the plasticity and the other set would be functioning in the processes that are triggering the plasticity. These are separable processes.