Influence of calcium on myosin thick filament formation in intact airway smooth muscle.

TitleInfluence of calcium on myosin thick filament formation in intact airway smooth muscle.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsHerrera, AM, Kuo, K-H, Seow, CY
JournalAm J Physiol Cell Physiol
Date Published2002 Feb
KeywordsActin Cytoskeleton, Animals, Calcium, Electric Stimulation, In Vitro Techniques, Isometric Contraction, Microscopy, Electron, Muscle, Smooth, Myosins, Swine, Trachea

Myosin thick filaments have been shown to be structurally labile in intact smooth muscles. Although the mechanism of thick filament assembly/disassembly for purified myosins in solution has been well described, regulation of thick filament formation in intact muscle is still poorly understood. The present study investigates the effect of resting calcium level on thick filament maintenance in intact airway smooth muscle and on thick filament formation during activation. Cross-sectional density of the thick filaments measured electron microscopically showed that the density increased substantially (144%) when the muscle was activated. The abundance of filamentous myosins in relaxed muscle was calcium sensitive; in the absence of calcium (with EGTA), the filament density deceased by 35%. Length oscillation imposed on the muscle under zero-calcium conditions produced no further reduction in the density. Isometric force and filament density recovered fully after reincubation of the muscle in normal physiological saline. The results suggest that in airway smooth muscle, filamentous myosins exist in equilibrium with monomeric myosins; muscle activation favors filament formation, and the resting calcium level is crucial for preservation of the filaments in the relaxed state.

Alternate JournalAm. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol.
PubMed ID11788342