The changes in birefringence in the rigor to relax transition of single triton-extracted rabbit psoas muscle fibers have been investigated with quantitative polarized light techniques. The total birefringence of rest lenght fibers in rigor was (1.46 +/- 0.08) x 10(-3) and increased to (1.67 +/- 0.05) x 10(-3) after Mg-ATP relaxation. Pyrophosphate relaxation increased the total birefringence only slightly, whereas subsequent Mg-ATP relaxation elicited the maximum increase in birefringence. Changes in lattice spacing did not account for the total increase in birefrigence during relaxation. Moreover, the increase in total birefringence was attributable to increases in intrinsic birefringence as well as form birefringence. No change in birefringence was exhibited upon exposure to a relaxation solution after myosin extraction. Synthetic myosin filaments were prepared and treated with relaxation and rigor solutions. The negatively stained filaments treated with a rigor solution had gross irregular projections at either end, while the filaments treated with a relaxing solution were more spindle shaped. The results are compatible with the view that the subfragment-2 moieties of myosin angle away from the myosin aggregates (light meromyosin) to permit the attachment of the subfragment-1 moieties to actin.

This content is only available as a PDF.