Immunofluorescent staining techniques were used to study the distribution of the Ca(2) + Mg(2+)-dependent ATPase and calsequestrin in primary cultures of differentiating rat skeletal muscle cells, grown for different periods of time under various culture conditions.

In mononucleated myoblasts calsequestrin was detected after 45 h in culture whereas the ATPase was not detected until 60 h. After cell fusion began, both proteins could be identified in all multinucleated cells. Myoblasts grown for longer than 60 h in low Ca(2+) medium contained calsequestrin and the ATPase, even though they were unable to fuse. These studies at the cellular level confirm biochemical findings on the biosynthesis of calsequestrin and the ATPase.

Immunofluorescent staining of myoblasts showed that calsequestrin first appears in a well-defined region of the cell near one end of the nucleus. At later times, the staining occupied progressively larger regions adjacent to the nucleus and took on a fibrous appearance. This suggests that calsequestrin first accumulates in the Golgi region and then gradually spreads throughout the cell. In contrast, the ATPase appeared to be concentrated in many small patches or foci throughout the cytoplasm and was never confined to one particular region, although some parts of the cell often stained more intensely than others. In multinucleated cells, alternating dark and fluorescent strands parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cells were evident.

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