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Functional Significance Of Myosin Transitions In Single Fibers Of Developing Soleus Muscle

P. J. Reiser, C. E. Kasper, M. L. Greaser, R. L. Moss

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The maximal velocity of shortening and myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition of single, chemically skinned fibers from neonatal and adult rat soleus muscles were examined to determine the relationship between these parameters during slow muscle development in the rat. In addition, the MHC composition of bundles of fibers from soleus muscles at the same ages was studied. The MHC compositions were examined using sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The results from the bundles of fibers indicate that from 3 days to 5 mo postnatal, the rat soleus contains predominantly MHCs that migrate in the vicinity of the MHC from adult slow muscle. From 14 days to 2 mo postnatal, there are also significant amounts of additional MHCs that comigrate on SDS gels with those characteristic of adult rat fast muscle. All the fibers studied at 3 and 7 days postnatal and at 5 mo and the majority of fibers from 14 days to 2 mo postnatal had relatively low shortening velocities. A few fibers from the latter group had significantly higher velocities. The faster fibers at each age had greater amounts of the MHCs that comigrate with the adult fast-type MHC on SDS gels. Thus the velocity of shortening of single fibers from the rat soleus muscle appears to be related to MHC composition during postnatal development.