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J Biol Chem. 1975 Jun 10;250(11):4278-84.

Removal of Z-lines and alpha-actinin from isolated myofibrils by a calcium-activated neutral protease.


A calcium-activated factor (CaAF) has been isolated and partially purified from the post-myofibrillar supernatant fraction of rabbit skeletal muscle. The 200-fold purified CaAF hydrolyzed denatured casein, [3-H]acetyl hemoglobin, and N-ethyl[3-H]maleimide-labeled alpha-actinin. The proteolytic activity has a pH optimum at 6.9 and is dependent on the presence of Ca2+ (optimum concentration, 10 mM). Digestion of isolated myofibrils with CaAF results in removal of Z-lines and in a parallel loss of a 90, 000-dalton protein that has a mobility identical with that of alpha-actinin as determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. A protein with the properties of alpha-actinin (identical electrophoretic mobility, and ability to accelerate the Mg2+-activated ATPase of reconstituted actomyosin) was isolated from the supernatant of CaAF-treated myofibrils. The release of alpha-actinin from myofibrils by the calcium-activated neutral protease occurs in the absence of detectable change in the electrophoretic profiles of the other myofibrillar proteins, or in the ethylene glycol bis(beta-aminoethyl ether)-N, N' tetraacetic acid (EGTA) sensitivity of Mg2+-activated ATPase. In contrast to the specific removal of Z-lines and of alpha-actinin by CaAF, trypsin treatment of myofibrils results in extensive degradation of myosin heavy chains and of the inhibitory component of troponin (TN-I), and in loss of EGTA sensitivity of myofibrillar ATPase. The degradation of TN-I and loss of EGTA sensitivity occur before the Z-line disappearance.

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