The motor properties of myosin reside in the globular S1 region of the myosin heavy chain (MHC) subunit. All vertebrates express a family of MHC isoforms in skeletal muscle that have a major influence on the mechanical properties of the various fiber types. Differences in molecular composition of S1 among MHC isoforms within a species have not been studied to any great detail. Presently, we have isolated, cloned and sequenced the S1 subunit of four MHC isoforms from skeletal muscle in Rana pipiens that are specifically expressed in four mechanically divergent fiber types. Paired analysis showed that the overall amino acid identity was higher between the three S1 isoforms expressed in twitch fibers than between the twitch and tonic isoforms. Relatedness in amino acid composition was evaluated in regions reported to govern cross-bridge kinetics. Surface loops 1 and 2, thought to influence motor velocity and ATPase, respectively, were both highly divergent between isoforms. However, the divergence in the loops was roughly equal to that of the amino-terminal region, a domain considered less important for motor function. We tested the hypothesis that the loops are more conserved in pairs of isoforms with more similar kinetics. Comparisons including other vertebrate species showed no tendency for loops from pairs with similar kinetics to be more conserved. These data suggest that the overall structure of loops 1 and 2 is not critical in regulating the kinetic properties of R. pipiens S1 isoforms. Cloning of this family of frog S1 isoforms will facilitate future structure/function studies of the molecular basis of variability in myosin cross-bridge kinetics. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Myosin heavy chain
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