The tissue and developmental specificities of the three Drosophila isoactins, originally identified in primary myogenic cultures and in the permanent Schneider L-2 cell line, have been investigated. Of these three isoactins (I, II, and III), actins I and II are stable and actin III is unstable. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analyses of total cellular extracts after 1-h [(35)S]methionine pulses were performed on a large variety of embryonic, larval, and adult muscle and nonmuscle tissues. The results suggest that isoactins II and III are generalized cellular actins found in all drosophila cell types. Actin I, on the other hand, is muscle-associated and is found exclusively in supercontractile muscle (such as larval body wall and larval and adult viscera) including primary myogenic cell cultures. Although actin I synthesis is not detectable during very early embryogenesis, it is detectable by 25 h and actin I is a major stable actin in all larval muscle tissues. Actin I is synthesized in reduced amounts relative to the other actins in late third instar larvae but is again a major product of actin synthesis in the adult abdomen. A stable actin species with the same pI as actin III has been identified in the adult thorax and appears to be unique to flight muscle tissue. This new stable form of thoracic actin may be the result of a stabilization of the actin III found in other tissues or may be an entirely separate gene product.

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