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Three-dimensional Compartmentalization Of Myosin Heavy Chain And Myosin Light Chain Isoforms In Dog Thyroarytenoid Muscle

Mark Bergrin, Sabahattin Bicer, Christine A. Lucas, Peter J. Reiser

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The thyroarytenoid muscle, a vocal fold adductor, has important roles in airway protection (e.g., prevention of aspiration) and phonation. Isoform expression of myosin heavy chain (MHC), a major determinant of muscle-shortening velocity, has been reported to be heterogeneous in this muscle in several mammals, differing markedly between the medial and lateral divisions. The objective was to determine the isoform expression patterns of both MHC and myosin light chain (MLC), with the latter having a modulatory role in determining shortening velocity, to further test whether the expression of both myosin subunits differs in multiple specific sites within the divisions of the dog thyroarytenoid muscle, potentially revealing even greater compartmentalization in this muscle. Our results indicate the existence of large gradients in the relative levels of individual MHC isoforms in the craniocaudal axis along the medial layer (i.e., airflow axis), where levels of MHC-I and MHC-IIA are low at both ends of the axis and high in the middle and MHC-IIB has a reciprocal distribution. The lateral layer is more uniform, with high levels of MHC-IIB throughout. The level of MHC-IID is relatively constant along the axis in both layers. Large differences exist in the distribution of MHC isoforms among single fibers isolated from sites along the craniocaudal axis, especially in the lateral layer. Systematic regional variations are apparent in the MLC isoform composition of single fibers as well, including some MLC isoform combinations that are not observed in dog limb muscles. Variations of MHC and MLC isoform expression in the dog thyroarytenoid muscle are greater than previously recognized and suggest an even broader range of contractile properties within this multifunctional muscle.