The two myosin heads with a single surface subunit on thick filaments from chelicerate arthropod muscle may originate from the same, or from axially sequential molecules, as suggested by three-dimensional reconstructions. The resolution attained in the reconstructions, however, does not permit one to distinguish unequivocally between these two possible arrangements. We examined the effect of 0.6 M KCl on relaxed thick filaments separated from Limulus muscle and filaments in which nearest myosin heads were cross-linked by the bifunctional agent, 3,3'-dithio-bis[3'(2')-O-[6-propionylamino)hexanoyl]adenosine 5'-triphosphate (bis22ATP), in the presence of vanadate (Vi). In high salt, surface myosin dissolved from both native, relaxed filaments and those exposed to 1-2 mM dithiothreitol after cross-linking, but was retained on filaments with cross-linked heads. Since bis22ATP must form intermolecular bonds between myosin heads within each subunit to prevent myosin solubilization in high salt, we conclude that each of these heads originates from a different myosin molecule, as was previously predicted by the reconstructions.

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