Inhibiting myosin-ATPase reveals a dynamic range of mitochondrial respiratory control in skeletal muscle

Biochem J. 2011 Jul 15;437(2):215-22. doi: 10.1042/BJ20110366.


Assessment of mitochondrial ADP-stimulated respiratory kinetics in PmFBs (permeabilized fibre bundles) is increasingly used in clinical diagnostic and basic research settings. However, estimates of the Km for ADP vary considerably (~20-300 μM) and tend to overestimate respiration at rest. Noting that PmFBs spontaneously contract during respiration experiments, we systematically determined the impact of contraction, temperature and oxygenation on ADP-stimulated respiratory kinetics. BLEB (blebbistatin), a myosin II ATPase inhibitor, blocked contraction under all conditions and yielded high Km values for ADP of >~250 and ~80 μM in red and white rat PmFBs respectively. In the absence of BLEB, PmFBs contracted and the Km for ADP decreased ~2-10-fold in a temperature-dependent manner. PmFBs were sensitive to hyperoxia (increased Km) in the absence of BLEB (contracted) at 30 °C but not 37 °C. In PmFBs from humans, contraction elicited high sensitivity to ADP (Km<100 μM), whereas blocking contraction (+BLEB) and including a phosphocreatine/creatine ratio of 2:1 to mimic the resting energetic state yielded a Km for ADP of ~1560 μM, consistent with estimates of in vivo resting respiratory rates of <1% maximum. These results demonstrate that the sensitivity of muscle to ADP varies over a wide range in relation to contractile state and cellular energy charge, providing evidence that enzymatic coupling of energy transfer within skeletal muscle becomes more efficient in the working state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myosins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Respiration
  • Temperature


  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings
  • Phosphocreatine
  • blebbistatin
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Myosins
  • Creatine