Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy of highly stretched skinned frog semi-tendinous muscle fibers revealed that connectin, an elastic protein of muscle, is located in the gap between actin and myosin filaments and also in the region of myosin filaments except in their centers. Electron microscopic observations showed that there were easily recognizable filaments extending from the myosin filaments to the I band region and to Z lines in the myofibrils treated with antiserum against connectin. In thin sections prepared with tannic acid, very thin filaments connected myosin filaments to actin filaments. These filaments were also observed in myofibrils extracted with a modified Hasselbach-Schneider solution (0.6 M KCl, 0.1 M phosphate buffer, pH 6.5, 2 mM ATP, 2 mM MgCl2, and 1 mM EGTA) and with 0.6 M Kl. SDS PAGE revealed that connectin (also called titin) remained in extracted myofibrils. We suggest that connectin filaments play an important role in the generation of tension upon passive stretch. A scheme of the cytoskeletal structure of myofibrils of vertebrate skeletal muscle is presented on the basis of our present information of connectin and intermediate filaments.

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