Myosin isoforms in anuran skeletal muscle: Their influence on contractile properties and in vivo muscle function

Gordon J. Lutz, Richard L. Lieber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Functional studies on isolated single anuran skeletal muscle cells represent classic experiments from which much of our understanding of muscle contraction mechanisms have been derived. Because of their superb mechanical stability when isolated, single anuran fibers provide a uniquely powerful model system that can be exploited to understand the relationship between myosin heavy chain (MHC) and myosin light chain (MLC) composition and muscle fiber function. In this review, we summarize historic and recent studies of MHC and MLC expression patterns in the fiber types of anuran species. We extend the traditional classification scheme, using data from recent reports in which frog MHCs have been cloned, to reveal the molecular basis of frog muscle fiber types. The influence of MHC and MLC isoforms on contractile kinetics of single intact fibers is reviewed. In addition, we discuss more subtle questions such as variability of myosin coexpressign along a single cell, and its potential influence on contractile function. The frog jump is used as a model system to elucidate principles of muscular system design, including the role of MHC isoforms on in vivo muscle function. Sequence information is used from cloned frog MHCs to understand the role of specific regions of the myosin motor domain in regulating contractile function and the evolutionary origins of fast and slow amphibian MHCs. Finally, we offer promising future possibilities that combine molecular methods (such as recombinant gene transfer) with single cell contractile measurements to address questions regarding myosin structure/function and gene regulation. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-457
Number of pages15
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2000


  • Anuran skeletal muscle
  • In vivo muscle function
  • Myosin isoforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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