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Nature. 1993 Sep 30;365(6445):454-6.

Skeletal muscle myosin light chains are essential for physiological speeds of shortening.

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Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254-9110.


In muscle each myosin head contains a regulatory light chain (LC2) that is wrapped around the head/rod junction, and an alkali light chain that is distal to LC2 (ref. 1). The role of these light chains in vertebrate skeletal muscle myosin has remained obscure. Here we prepare heavy chains that are free of both light chains in order to determine by a motility assay whether the light chains are necessary for movement. We find that removal of light chains from myosin reduces the velocity of actin filaments from 8.8 microns s-1 to 0.8 microns s-1 without significantly decreasing the ATPase activity. Reconstitution of myosin with LC2 or alkali light chain increases filament velocity to intermediate rates, and readdition of both classes of light chains fully restores the original sliding velocity. We conclude that even though the light chains are not essential for enzymatic activity, light-chain/heavy-chain interactions play an important part in the conversion of chemical energy into movement.

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