In the present study, a monoclonal antibody (McAb), ALD19, generated against myosin of slow tonic muscle, was shown to react with the heavy chain of ventricular myosin in the adult chicken heart. With this antibody, it was possible to detect a ventricular-specific myosin during myocardial differentiation and to show that the epitope recognized by ALD19 was present from the earliest stages of ventricular differentiation and maintained throughout development only in the ventricle. A second McAb, specific for atrial myosin heavy chain (MHC) (Gonzalez-Sanchez, A., and D. Bader, 1984, Dev. Biol., 103:151-158), was used as a control to detect an atrial-specific myosin in the caudal portion of the developing heart at Hamburger-Hamilton stage 15. It was found that the appearance of ventricular MHC predated the expression of atrial MHC by approximately 1 d in ovo and that specific MHCs were always differentially distributed. While a common primordial MHC may be present in the early heart, this study showed the tissue-specific expression of a ventricular MHC during the initial stages of heart development and its differential accumulation throughout development.

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