Identification of myosin light chains in Rana pipiens skeletal muscle and their expression patterns along single fibres

Gordon J. Lutz*, Shannon N. Bremner, Michael J. Bade, Richard L. Lieber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Isoforms of myosin heavy chain (MHC) and myosin light chain (MLC) influence contractile kinetics of skeletal muscle. We previously showed that the four major skeletal muscle fibre types in Rana pipiens (type 1, type 2, type 3 and tonic; amphibian nomenclature) contain four unique MHC isoforms. In the present study we defined the MLCs expressed in each of these R. pipiens fibre types. The MLC composition of single MHC-typed fibres was determined from western blots using a panel of monoclonal MLC antibodies. A total of seven MLCs were identified, including four types of MLC1, two of MLC2 and a single MLC3. Twitch fibre types (types 1, 2 and 3) expressed MLC1f and MLC2f, while tonic fibres contained a unique set of isoforms, MLC1Ta, MLC1Tb and MLC2T. MLC3 was expressed primarily in type 1, type 1-2 and type 2 fibres. Surprisingly, some frogs displayed a striking pattern of MLC expression where a unique isoform of MLC1 (MLC1x) was coexpressed along with the normal MLC1 isoform(s) in all fibre types. MLC1x was either expressed in all fibres of a given frog or was completely absent. The intraspecific polymorphism in MLC1 expression is likely to have a genetic basis, but is unlikely to be caused by allelic variation. The ratio of MLC3/MLC1 increased in direct proportion to the percentage of type 1 MHC, but was only weakly correlated. The variability in MLC3/MLC1 within a fibre type was extremely large. Both the MHC isoform and MLC3/MLC1 ratio varied significantly between 1 mm segments along the length of fibres. For all segments combined, MLC3/MLC1 increased with the percentage of type 1 MHC, but the correlation between segments was weaker than between fibres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4237-4248
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2001


  • Contractile protein
  • Electrophoresis
  • Fibre type
  • Frog
  • Isoform
  • Rana pipiens
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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