The β-myosin heavy chain expressed in ventricular myocardium and the myosin heavy chain (MyHC) in slow-twitch skeletal Musculus soleus (M. soleus) type-I fibers are both encoded by MYH7. Thus, these myosin molecules are deemed equivalent. However, some reports suggested variations in the light chain composition between M. soleus and ventricular myosin, which could influence functional parameters, such as maximum velocity of shortening. To test for functional differences of the actin gliding velocity on immobilized myosin molecules, we made use of in vitro motility assays. We found that ventricular myosin moved actin filaments with ∼0.9 µm/s significantly faster than M. soleus myosin (0.3 µm/s). Filaments prepared from isolated actin are not the native interaction partner of myosin and are believed to slow down movement. Yet, using native thin filaments purified from M. soleus or ventricular tissue, the gliding velocity of M. soleus and ventricular myosin remained significantly different. When comparing the light chain composition of ventricular and M. soleus β-myosin, a difference became evident. M. soleus myosin contains not only the “ventricular” essential light chain (ELC) MLC1sb/v, but also an additional longer and more positively charged MLC1sa. Moreover, we revealed that on a single muscle fiber level, a higher relative content of MLC1sa was associated with significantly slower actin gliding. We conclude that the ELC MLC1sa decelerates gliding velocity presumably by a decreased dissociation rate from actin associated with a higher actin affinity compared to MLC1sb/v. Such ELC/actin interactions might also be relevant in vivo as differences between M. soleus and ventricular myosin persisted when native thin filaments were used.

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