Biochemical comparison of fast- and slow-contracting squid muscle.
The myofilament protein compositions of muscle fibres from the transverse muscle mass of the tentacles and the transverse muscle mass of the arms of the loliginid squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana were compared. These two muscle masses are distinct types, differing in their ultrastructural and behavioural properties. The transverse muscle of the tentacles consists of specialized muscle fibres that exhibit cross-striation and unusually short sarcomeres and thick filaments. The transverse muscle of the arms consists of obliquely striated muscle fibres that are typical of cephalopod skeletal muscle in general. The specialization of the tentacle muscle results in a high shortening speed and reflects its role in creating rapid elongation of the tentacles during prey capture. Comparison of samples of myofilament preparations of the two muscle fibre types using sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and peptide mapping of myosin heavy chains from the two muscle fibre types, however, showed little evidence of differences in contractile protein isoforms. Thus, specialization for high shortening speed appears to have occurred primarily through changes in the dimensions and arrangement of the myofilament lattice, rather than through changes in biochemistry. The thick filament core protein paramyosin was tentatively identified in the squid muscle fibres. This protein was less abundant in the short thick filament cross-striated tentacle muscle cells than in the obliquely striated arm cells.
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