A monoclonal antibody (anterior latissimus dorsi 58 [ALD58]; antimyosin heavy chain, MHC) directed against myosin from slow tonic muscle was found to react specifically with the striated muscle cells of the conductive system in the adult chicken heart. This monoclonal antibody was used to study the expression of myosin in the conductive system of the adult and developing heart. Using immunofluorescence microscopy with ALD58, muscle cells of the conductive system were demonstrated in both the atria and ventricles of the adult heart as previously shown by Sartore et al. (Sartore, S., S. Pierobon-Bormioli, and S. Schiafinno, 1978, Nature (Lond.), 274: 82-83). Radioactive myosin from adult atria and ventricles was precipitated with ALD58 and subjected to limited proteolysis and subsequent peptide mapping. Peptide maps of ALD58 reactive myosin from atria and ventricles were very similar, if not identical, but differed from peptide maps of ordinary atrial and ventricular myosin. The same antibody was used to study cardiac myogenesis in the chick embryo. When ALD58 was reacted with myosin isolated from atria and ventricles at selected stages of development in radioimmunoassays, reactivity was not observed until the last week of embryonic life (greater than 15 d of egg incubation). Thereafter concomitant and progressively increased reactivity was observed in atrial and ventricular preparations. Also, no ALD58 positive cells were observed in immunofluorescence studies of embryonic hearts until 17 d of egg incubation. Primary cell cultures of embryonic hearts also proved to be negative for this antibody. This study demonstrates that an epitope recognized by ALD58 associated with an antimyosin heavy chain of striated muscle cells of the adult heart conductive system is absent or present in only small amounts in the early embryonic heart.

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