Two distinct skeletal muscle ryanodine receptors (RyR1s) are expressed in a fiber type-specific manner in fish skeletal muscle (11). In this study, we compare [(3)H]ryanodine binding and single channel activity of RyR1-slow from fish slow-twitch skeletal muscle with RyR1-fast and RyR3 isolated from fast-twitch skeletal muscle. Scatchard plots indicate that RyR1-slow has a lower affinity for [(3)H]ryanodine when compared with RyR1-fast. In single channel recordings, RyR1-slow and RyR1-fast had similar slope conductances. However, the maximum open probability (P(o)) of RyR1-slow was threefold less than the maximum P(o) of RyR1-fast. Single channel studies also revealed the presence of two populations of RyRs in tuna fast-twitch muscle (RyR1-fast and RyR3). RyR3 had the highest P(o) of all the RyR channels and displayed less inhibition at millimolar Ca(2+). The addition of 5 mM Mg-ATP or 2.5 mM beta, gamma-methyleneadenosine 5'-triphosphate (AMP-PCP) to the channels increased the P(o) and [(3)H]ryanodine binding of both RyR1s but also caused a shift in the Ca(2+) dependency curve of RyR1-slow such that Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation was attenuated. [(3)H]ryanodine binding data also showed that Mg(2+)-dependent inhibition of RyR1-slow was reduced in the presence of AMP-PCP. These results indicate differences in the physiological properties of RyRs in fish slow- and fast-twitch skeletal muscle, which may contribute to differences in the way intracellular Ca(2+) is regulated in these muscle types.