In molluscan muscles contraction is regulated by the interaction of calcium with myosin. The calcium dependence of the aotin-activated ATPase activity of scallop myosin requires the presence of a specific light chain. This light chain is released from myosin by EDTA treatment (EDTA-light chains) and its removal desensitizes the myosin, i.e. abolishes the calcium requirement for the actin-activated ATPase activity, and reduces the amount of calcium the myosin binds; the isolated light chain, however, does not bind calcium and has no ATPase activity. Calcium regulation and calcium binding is restored when the EDTA-light chain is recombined with desensitized myosin preparations. Dissociation of the EDTA-light chain from myosin depends on the concentration of divalent cations; half dissociation is reached at about 10-5M-magnesium or 10-7M-calcium concentrations. The EDTA-light chain and the residual myosin are fairly stable and the components may be kept separated for a day or so before recombination. Additional light chains containing half cystine residues (SH-light chains) are detached from desensitized myosin by sodium dodecyl sulfate. The EDTA-light chains and the SH-light chains have a similar chain weight of about 18,000 daltons; however, they differ in several amino acid residues and the EDTA-light chains contain no half cystine. The SH-light chains and EDTA-light chains have different tryptic fingerprints. Both light chains can be prepared from washed myofibrils. Densitometry of dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis bands and Sephadex chromatography in sodium dodecyl sulfate indicate that there are three moles of light chains in a mole of purified myosin, but only two in myosin treated with EDTA. The ratio of the SH-light chains to EDTA-light chains was found to be two to one in experiments where the total light-chain complements of myosin or myofibril preparations were carboxymethylated. A similar ratio was obtained from the densitometry of urea-acrylamide gel electrophoresis bands. We conclude that a myosin molecule contains two moles of SH-light chain and one mole of EDTA-light chain, and that the removal of a single EDTA-light chain completely desensitizes scallop myosin. Heavy meromyosin and S-1 subfragment can be prepared from scallop myosin. Both of these preparations bind calcium and contain light chains in significant amounts. The heavy meromyosin of scallop is extensively degraded; the S-1 preparation, however, is remarkably intact. Significantly, heavy meromyosin has a calcium-dependent actin-activated ATPase while the S-1 does not require calcium and shows high ATPase activity in its absence. These results suggest that regulation involves a co-operativity between the two globular ends of the myosin. Desensitized scallop myosin and scallop S-1 preparations can be made calcium sensitive when mixed with rabbit actin containing the rabbit regulatory proteins. This result makes it unlikely that specific light chains of myosin are involved in the regulation of the vertebrate system. The fundamental similarity in the contractile regulation of molluscs and vertebrates is that interaction between actin and myosin in both systems requires a critical level of calcium. We propose that the difference in regulation of these systems is that the interaction between myosin and actin is prevented by blocking sites on actin in the case of vertebrate muscles, whereas in the case of molluscan muscles it is the sites on myosin which are blocked in the absence of calcium. © 1973.
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