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J Biol Chem. 1990 Sep 5;265(25):14864-9.

Characterization of in vitro motility assays using smooth muscle and cytoplasmic myosins.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


We have used two in vitro motility assays to study the relative movement of actin and myosin from turkey gizzards (smooth muscle) and human platelets. In the Nitella-based in vitro motility assay, myosin-coated polymer beads move over a fixed substratum of actin bundles derived from dissection of the alga, Nitella, whereas in the sliding actin filament assay fluorescently labeled actin filaments slide over myosin molecules adhered to a glass surface. Both assay systems yielded similar relative velocities using smooth muscle myosin and actin under our standard conditions. We have studied the effects of ATP, ionic strength, magnesium, and tropomyosin on the velocity and found that with the exception of the dependence on MgCl2, the two assays gave very similar results. Calcium over a concentration of pCa 8 to 4 had no effect on the velocity of actin filaments. Phosphorylated smooth muscle myosin propelled filaments of smooth muscle and skeletal muscle actin at the same rate. Phosphorylated smooth muscle and cytoplasmic myosin monomers also moved actin filaments, demonstrating that filament formation is not required for movement.

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