Guinea pig liver transglutaminase has been found to catalyze the covalent incorporation of dansylcadaverine into chicken skeletal muscle myofibril proteins. Epifluorescence microscopy reveals that the incorporated dansylcadaverine is specifically localized at or near the myofibril Z line. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) indicates that actin constitutes a major fraction of the labeled material; the Z-line proteins alpha-actinin and desmin also show significant labeling, as well as tropomyosin, several additional unidentified proteins, and material with an extremely high molecular weight. The Z-line-specific fluorescence can be removed by brief trypsinization, which releases fluorescent alpha-actinin into the supernate. The majority of the fluorescent protein species are resistant to extraction by either 0.6 M KCl or KI. These results, in conjunction with the microscopic localization, suggest that the dansyl-labeled proteins are constituents of the myofibril Z line. A significant amount of fluorescently labeled transglutaminase is also present in labeled myofibrils, which is resistant to extraction with either 0.6 M KCl or KI. This result indicates a strong, noncovalent interaction between the transglutaminase molecule and the myofibril Z line.

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