Myosin was localized in situ in the posthatch chicken pectoralis using isoform-specific mAbs. The distribution among myofibrils was demonstrated by immunofluorescence and by immunogold EM. Fluorescein- or rhodamine-labeled antibody (12C5) specific for the head region (S1) of myosin was used as a marker to identify "embryonic" myosin. In longitudinal semithin frozen sections, a minority population of myofibrils stained intensely with 12C5. All other myofibrils in the same cell stained only weakly. Similarly, in Lowicryl-embedded ultrathin sections prepared for EM, a minority population reacted preferentially with gold-labeled 12C5. An antibody (5B4) specific for the rod portion of "neonatal" myosin reacted strongly with nearly all myofibrils, and this was evident by light and electron microscopy. A few of the fibrils that reacted strongly with 12C5 reacted weakly with 5B4. These observations demonstrate that an epitope reacting with 12C5 is more abundant in some myofibrils than in others within the same cell. Three categories of myofibrils can be identified by their relative proportions of embryonic and neonatal forms of myosin: in nearly all fibrils, a neonatal isoform predominates; in a minority population, embryonic and neonatal isoforms are both abundant; and in a few fibrils, an embryonic isoform predominates. It is concluded that there are distinct populations of myofibrils in which specific isoforms are segregated within an individual cell.

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