Myosin polymorphism in human skeletal muscles



Myosins isolated from individual human muscles (primarily normal muscles) were investigated with respect to their structural and catalytic properties. The results indicate unexpected elements of uniformity shared by the several myosins, such as a three-banded, electrophoretic pattern of light chains in sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) gels and a low degree of alkaline lability. The pH activity profile and the effect of KCl on myosin ATPase activities were also found to be the same for the myosins from predominantly fast (e.g., vastus lateralis and rectus abdominis) and slow (e.g., soleus and pectoralis minor) muscles. Coelectrophoretic experiments lend further credence to the interrelationship between human myosin light chains and the light chains of rabbit fast-muscle myosin. However, several kinds of circumstantial evidence, such as that derived from the study of myosin in nemaline myopathy, suggest that one should exercise caution in interpreting these results. On the other hand, human muscle myosins, like those of other mammalian species, can be divided into two main categories according to the peptide composition of tryptic heavy meromyosin (HMM) and the banding pattern of light meromyosin (LMM) paracrystals. These results, which are indicative of differences in the primary structure of the heavy chains, allow us to identify these heavy chains as the main site of heterogeneity among myosins in human muscles.