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J Physiol. 1988 Dec;406:85-98.

Variations in contractile properties of rabbit single muscle fibres in relation to troponin T isoforms and myosin light chains.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


1. The maximal velocity of shortening (Vmax), tension-pCa relationships and the contractile and regulatory protein composition were determined in single, chemically skinned fibres from adult rabbit plantaris muscles. 2. Three groups of fibres were identified based on their protein compositions. One group had exclusively the slow-type myosin heavy chain (MHC) and myosin light chains (LC) and had low velocities. Another group of fibres had mixtures of fast-type and slow-type MHCs and LCs and had intermediate shortening velocities. The third group of fibres had fast-type myosin heavy and light chains and high velocities. 3. The low-velocity fibres had a mean velocity (+/- S.E.M.) of 0.86 +/- 0.03 muscle lengths/s (ML/s) at 15 degrees C. The remaining fibres formed a continuum with respect to Vmax from 1.37 to 3.94 ML/s. These results indicate that a much greater diversity exists among single fibres from adult mammalian skeletal muscle than previously recognized. The intermediate- and high-velocity fibres formed a continuum (from slow to fast) with respect to the amount of myosin light chain 3 (LC3). That is, Vmax increased with the relative LC3 content in single fibres in the intermediate- and high-velocity groups in a quantitative, statistically significant manner. 4. Three isoforms of fast-type troponin T were identified among the intermediate- and high-velocity fibres. These fibres also contained fast-type troponin C and troponin I. As was the case with the relative LC3 content, these fibres also formed a continuum with respect to the relative proportions of the three isoforms of fast-type troponin T. It appears that different isoforms of troponin T are responsible for a slightly higher Ca2+ sensitivity of tension development in the high-velocity fibres compared to the intermediate fibres. The continuum in troponin T isoform composition paralleled an increase in Vmax among these fibres. 5. The low-velocity fibres had the highest Ca2+ sensitivity of the three groups and had exclusively the slow-type isoforms of the regulatory proteins in the troponin complex. 6. The co-ordinated variations in troponin T and LC3 compositions among the intermediate- and high-velocity fibres are discussed as a possible means for the further differentiation of the contractile properties of the fibres in these two groups, beyond that provided by myosin heavy chain isoforms alone.

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