Chymotrypsin cleaves Dictyostelium myosin in half, splitting the heavy chain (210,000 daltons) into two fragments of 105,000 daltons each. One of the two major fragments is soluble at low ionic strength and has a native molecular weight of 130,000. As judged by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, this soluble fragment consists of the two intact myosin light chains of 18,000 and 16,000 daltons and a 105,000-dalton polypeptide derived from the myosin heavy chain. The soluble fragment retains actin-activated ATPase activity and the ability to bind to actin in an ATP-dissociable fashion. The maximal velocity of the actin-activated ATPase activity of the soluble fragment is 80% of that of uncleaved myosin, although its apparent Km for actin is 12-fold greater than that of myosin. In addition to the major soluble 105,000-dalton fragment discussed above, chymotryptic cleavage of the Dictyostelium myosin also generates fragments that are insoluble at low ionic strength. The major insoluble fragment is 105,000 daltons on an SDS polyacrylamide gel and forms thick filaments that are devoid of myosin heads. A less prevalent insoluble fragment has a molecular weight of 83,000 and is probably a subfragment of the insoluble 105,000-dalton fragment. The heavy chain of myosin is phosphorylated in vivo and the phosphorylation site has been localized to the insoluble fragments, which derive from the tail portion of the myosin molecule.

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