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Review
, 77 (2), 493-501

Myosin Isoforms in Mammalian Skeletal Muscle

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Review

Myosin Isoforms in Mammalian Skeletal Muscle

S Schiaffino et al. J Appl Physiol (1985).

Abstract

Skeletal muscles of different mammalian species contain four major myosin heavy-chain (MHC) isoforms: the "slow" or beta-MHC and the three "fast" IIa-, IIx-, and IIb-MHCs; and three major myosin light-chain (MLC) isoforms, the "slow" MLC1s and the two "fast" MLC1f and MLC3f. The differential distribution of the MHCs defines four major fiber types containing a single MHC isoform and a number of intermediate hybrid fiber populations containing both beta/slow- and IIa-MHC, IIa- and IIx-MHC, or IIx- and IIb-MHC. The IIa-, IIx-, and IIb-MHCs were first detected in neonatal muscles, and their expression in developing and adult muscle is regulated by neural, hormonal, and mechanical factors. The transcriptional mechanisms responsible for the fiber type-specific regulation of MHC and MLC gene expression are not known and are presently being explored by in vivo transfection experiments. The functional role of MHC isoforms has been in part clarified by correlated biochemical-physiological studies on single skinned fibers: these studies, in agreement with results from in vitro motility assays, indicate that both MHC and MLC isoforms determine the maximum velocity of shortening of skeletal muscle fibers.

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