The localization of high-molecular-weight (80,000-200,000-daltons) proteins in the sarcomere of striated muscle has been studied by coordinated electron-microscopic and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) gel electrophoretic analysis of native myofilaments and extracted and digested myofibrils. Methods were developed for the isolation of thick and thin filaments and of uncontracted myofibrils which are devoid of endoproteases and membrane fragments. Treatment of crude myofibrils with 0.5% Triton X-100 results in the release of a 110,000-dalton component without affecting the myofibrillar structure. Extraction of uncontracted myofibrils with a relaxing solution of high ionic strength results in the complete disappearance of the A band and M line. In this extract, five other protein bands in addition to myosin are resolved on SDS gels: bands M 1 (190,000 daltons) and M 2 (170,000 daltons), which are suggested to be components of the M line; M 3 (150,000 daltons), a degradation product; and a doublet M 4, M 5 (140,000 daltons), thick-filament protein having the same mobility as C protein. Extraction of myofibrils with 0.15% deoxycholate, previously shown to remove Z-line density, releases a doublet Z 1, Z 2 (90,000 daltons) with the same mobility as alpha-actinin, as well as proteins of 60,000 daltons and less, and small amounts of M 1, M 2, M 4, and M 5; these proteins were not extracted with 0.5% Triton X-100. The C, M-line, and Z-line proteins and/or their binding to myofibrils are very sensitive to tryptic digestion, whereas the M 3 (150,000 daltons) component and an additional band at 110,000 daltons are products of proteolysis. Gentle treatment of myofibrils with an ATP relaxing solution results in the release of thick and thin myofilaments which can be pelleted by 100,000-g centrifugation. These myofilaments lack M-and Z-line structure when examined with the electron microscope, and their electrophoretograms are devoid of the M 1, M 2, Z 1, and Z 2 bands. The M 4, M 5 (C-protein doublet), and M 3 bands, however, remain associated with the filaments.

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