Considerable interest has been focused on the role of myosin light chain LC(2) in the contraction of vertebrate striated muscle. A study was undertaken to further our investigations (Moss, R.L., G.G. Giulian, and M.L. Greaser, 1981, J. Biol. Chem., 257:8588-8591) of the effects of LC(2) removal upon contraction in skinned fibers from rabbit psoas muscles. Isometric tension and maximum velocity of shortening, V(max), were measured in fiber segments prior to LC(2) removal. The segments were then bathed at 30 degrees C for up to 240 min in a buffer solution containing 20 mM EDTA in order to extract up to 60 percent of the LC(2). Troponin C (TnC) was also partially removed by this procedure. Mechanical measurements were done following the EDTA extraction and the readditions of first TnC and then LC(2) to the segments. The protein subunit compositions of the same fiber segments were determined following each of these procedures by SDS PAGE of small pieces of the fiber.
V(max) was found to decrease as the LC(2) content of the fiber segments was reduced by increasing the duration of extraction. EDTA treatment also resulted in substantial reductions in tension due mainly to the loss of TnC, though smaller reductions due to the extraction of LC(2) were also observed. Reversal of the order of recombination of LC(2) and TnC indicated that the reduction in V(max) following EDTA treatment was a specific effect of LC(2) removal. These results strongly suggest that LC(2) may have roles in determining the kinetics and extent of interaction between myosin and actin.