Sliding distance per ATP molecule hydrolyzed by myosin heads during isotonic shortening of skinned muscle fibers

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We measured isotonic sliding distance of single skinned fibers from rabbit psoas muscle when known and limited amounts of ATP were made available to the contractile apparatus. The fibers were immersed in paraffin oil at 20 degrees C, and laser pulse photolysis of caged ATP within the fiber initiated the contraction. The amount of ATP released was measured by photolyzing 3H-ATP within fibers, separating the reaction products by high-pressure liquid chromatography, and then counting the effluent peaks by liquid scintillation. The fiber stiffness was monitored to estimate the proportion of thick and thin filament sites interacting during filament sliding. The interaction distance, Di, defined as the sliding distance while a myosin head interacts with actin in the thin filament per ATP molecule hydrolyzed, was estimated from the shortening distance, the number of ATP molecules hydrolyzed by the myosin heads, and the stiffness. Di increased from 11 to 60 nm as the isotonic tension was reduced from 80% to 6% of the isometric tension. Velocity and Di increased with the concentration of ATP available. As isotonic load was increased, the interaction distance decreased linearly with decrease of the shortening velocity and extrapolated to 8 nm at zero velocity. Extrapolation of the relationship between Di and velocity to saturating ATP concentration suggests that Di reaches 100–190 nm at high shortening velocity. The interaction distance corresponds to the sliding distance while cross-bridges are producing positive (working) force plus the distance while they are dragging (producing negative forces). The results indicate that the working and drag distances increase as the velocity increases. Because Di is larger than the size of either the myosin head or the actin monomer, the results suggest that for each ATPase cycle, a myosin head interacts mechanically with several actin monomers either while working or while producing drag. © 1995, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Higuchi, H., & Goldman, Y. E. (1995). Sliding distance per ATP molecule hydrolyzed by myosin heads during isotonic shortening of skinned muscle fibers. Biophysical Journal, 69(4), 1491–1507.

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